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Never Always Sometimes
by Adi Alsaid

published on August 4th 2015 by Harlequin Teen
young adult | contemporary | romance

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Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Book Review

I received a free digital copy of this book from Harlequin Teen for review. This did not affect my review in any way.

 

Words cannot properly express the annoyance and frustration I felt after finishing this book. I actually felt the same way towards the the end of the Paper Towns movie (I haven’t read the book yet–as if the whole story was all for nothing. It wasn’t a pointless book, per se, but I definitely think the end lacked proper closure and will probably leave a lot of readers unsatisfied. Maybe even pissed if you’re oddly emotional like me.

I think the main reason I couldn’t feel the book was because I didn’t like the writing style. At all. The book was written in a very John Green-esque fashion–flowery writing, teens who think deep thoughts and all that jazz. Maybe it’s because I’m a shallow reader, but the characters were driving me crazy, and not in a good way, either.

The main characters were way too “eccentric” to be realistic, and that made it so hard for me to relate for them. It sucks that I should be able to do that, being in high school and all, but instead I felt like throwing rocks at their heads throughout majority of the book! Call me a warfreak, but it’s true.

Dave, if we’re being honest, is an ass. I can’t tell you why without spoiling the book, but yes, an ass. A big one. I legitimately want to slice his head clean open. Morbid, I know.

But the main problem lies with Julia. Julia, the manic pixie dream girl. Let me list down some of the many problems I had with her:

a) She’s such an elitist. She felt like all the “regular” people who did “normal” teenager things were way down below her. She felt like she was up on a fucking pedestal and that they didn’t deserve her attention.

b) She’s manipulative. I honestly felt like she was just playing around with Dave’s emotions. I don’t like him either, but Julia didn’t have any right to do that, especially since they’re best friends.

c) She’s hot-and-cold. This sort of goes with reason b). Julia sometimes acts like the perfect best friend, while sometimes she’s sort of missing.

I appreciate that Adi Alsaid tried to go against what was expected of the book, but the ending made no sense. I was kind of like, “Whoa whoa whoa! Hold up. What the heck is going on?!” And yes, I guess in a way I sort of felt cheated with the way things ended. Like I said, it just didn’t make sense.

Overall, definitely not my kind of book. I just couldn’t deal with the emotional stress this book gave me.

Skulls 1

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About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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38 thoughts on “Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

  1. Wow I’m glad I decided to stay away from this one then. When I first saw the cover, I was like nahhh. It doesn’t pull me in. And that was before I even read the summary. I’ve never been interested in Adi Alsaid’s books like John Green’s books. To be honest, the summary did pull me in a little but I’ll just cross it off again. I hate when I finish a book and it feels like I didn’t get a proper closure like you said :/ But awesome review, Aimee!

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  2. Oh god! The summary made this book so promising, but I’m not sure I want to try it out after reading your review. I can’t stand characters that are so strange that they feel unrealistic. When I read a contemporary novel, I want to be able to relate to the characters and enjoy their personality. If only one of the MC had a despicable personality, but there both of them seem to be awful, lol. Not for me.

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  3. Uh-oh. This sounds bad. I was actually looking forward to this one because I’ve been seeing/hearing a lot of buzz about this book. So glad I read your review Aimee!

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  4. Wow, one star!?! I was actually considering to read this book because of a positive review from a blogger I appreciate, but your points pretty much shout “Vane, don’t read this!! You will hate it!!” Awesome honest review, Aimee.

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  5. I know EXACTLY what you mean about the teens with deep thoughts thing. I recently read a book called Mosquitoland where the main character was completely snarky witty in her own head and all I could think was that someone needed to knock this little punk down a peg. Shame, too- I’ve heard of this one and was considering reading it!

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  6. I’m sorry you didn’t like the book at all. I’ve been so excited for this one for such a long time and I’m planning to read it soon. I keep hearing the most mixed things about the book – some people seem to love it while others, like you, didn’t enjoy it at all. I really hope I’ll enjoy it because it sounds good to me but I’ve never read a book by Adi Alsaid, so maybe I won’t like his writing or something. We will see, I guess. :)

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  7. I’m pretty much going to hate all manic pixie dream girls, so freaking frustrating. I don’t like the sound of Julia at all, especially with how elitist she is and everything you mention in this review. A shame about that ending too, sounds like a cop out. I don’t think this is for me either, great review!

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  8. *groans* It sucks when you pick up a book you want to read, and then you end up just not understanding why you wanted to in the first place. Trying too hard to be original is still trying too hard. And I’m not so sure I’d enjoy the pixie dream girl. Being elitist is OK, as long as you don’t judge other people, so I’m pretty sure that Julia would annoy me as well.
    Great review, Aimee!

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  9. I absolutely agree! I really expected to enjoy this one more but I found the characters to be difficult to connect with and hard to root for. And with a character-driven story like this, that’s going to make the plot all the more challenging. And I hear you on that ending, although the thing that happened in the middle wasn’t much better. Great review.

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  10. Ahhhh sorry you didn’t enjoy this book! I personally really enjoyed it but it definitely didn’t top Let’s Get Lost. I had a problem with Dave too. He did something in the book and I didn’t like it at all. Anyway, great review even if it was a negative one! :)

    ~Kaitlin

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  11. I seriously can’t tell you how many unfavorable reviews I’ve seen for this book. I am really glad I passed up on the opportunity to review this book. I really dodged a bullet!

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  12. Agh, that sounds super frustrating. :/ I have trouble with the totally epic teens who think all the deep thoughts because I LOVE THEM but I’m never sure how realistic they are?? I Mean, I don’t think it bothers me too much, but eccentricities need balance. I HATE ELITIST ATTIDUES THO. OMG. I hate them IRL so I don’t like reading about them either. >_>

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  13. I can’t relate to teenagers who are totally *special snow flakes* and spout deep thoughts and philosophy like they’re going on 80… so I think I’ll stay away from this book. Manic Pixie Dream Girls are worst than a Mary Sue, IMO, I wish this trope would go away!!

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  14. Dave made me pretty mad as well. And Julia, actually. Especially with how her “feelings” for Dave were magically realized AFTER a certain event. I gave this one three stars because I liked the concept of the list and how it didn’t end like I expected. But John Green-esque indeed. The characters did not seem their age at all, and while it lead to some interesting banter, it was unrealistic, I definitely agree.

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  15. I tried to read this author’s first book, and I rage-quit that one, because, YES, the style and the story is a JG copy. All of the characters are manic, everyone is “bigger than life” and everything dripped with sappy, special snowflake.

    So I can totally believe that this book has the same issues. The author is very sweet, but his books are not my cup of tea.

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  16. Great review, Aimee! I’ve heard really mixed things about this book, and about the author’s debut also. I think there’s a lot of YA authors now trying to copy John Green’s writing style – which isn’t exactly great to begin with. Having characters who you hate can just break a story, and these ones sound awful with how you’ve described them. I think I’ll stay away from this book now.

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  17. I’m definitely going to be avoiding this book…I actually really didn’t like this author’s first book, and judging by your review, it doesn’t look like this one’s much better. Unrealistic characters are definitely a bit of a turnoff…

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  18. I enjoy eccentric, quirky characters – but not the extent of being completely manic pixie/unrealistic/unbelievable. The blurb makes it sound like the characters tried too hard to be special, which makes for a very frustrating reading experience!

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  19. I’m less than 100 pages in and so frustrated and annoyed with this book. I was going to try to wait to see if it got better but I don’t even want to read it anymore. So much of what you said I can already see and I really appreciate you sharing this so I don’t feel bad anymore about DNFing it. These characters are just too irritating to read about any more!

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  20. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear (or happy? should I say?) this book provoked such strong emotion in you, Aimee. I personally am not a fan of John Green-esque writing, so I probably won’t like this Adi Alsaid’s writing either . . . their characters just act and speak so unnaturally. Way beyond their years. And I hate unsatisfying endings. I was really excited for this one, but I may have to give it a pass. :(

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  21. Sadly I had similar issues with his first book too Aimz, it just felt a bit underdone to be honest. The main character there was that manic dream pixie too, similar characters but slightly different scenario. Which is a pity really, because the premise of both reads has pretty good bones, but completely agree with it trying too hard to be John Green, rather than just BE. Awesome review Aimz and so sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more <3

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  22. I hated the ending to this book. It was complete BS and I just didn’t believe that that was the reason Dave did such a thing. Ugh. I rated this higher than you, but now I’m thinking back on it and wondering why :P

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  23. I’m super glad that you didn’t enjoy this loads because reading the synopsis alone I was getting huge fuckboy/friendzone vibes from Dave. & it reminded me of Paper Towns too which I ended up not enjoying

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  24. Yikes! I already knew this book wasn’t for me, but wow this sounds awful! I don’t think I’d like either character. >.< I wasn't a fan of Let's Get Lost, so sadly I'm wondering if he's just not an author for me. :/
    Great review, friend!

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  25. Oh, sorry to hear it was such a disappointment, Aimee. I think I’ll pass it. Unrealistic characters and an open ending which made no sence? Not for me.

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  26. I ended up giving this one three stars because it was pretty disappointing.

    Now I hate John Green and I felt the similarities, but for some reason I loved Alsaid’s writing style (at least during the first section before Dave is an ass). I found myself laughing, but after that first section, things went downhill.

    I don’t think this one was terrible, but definitely odd. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

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