NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES is a contemporary YA novel written by the lovely and incredibly talented Adi Alsaid.
This is a second book by Adi I have read this year. I enjoyed reading LET'S GET LOST so I was expecting wonderful things from his second novel. Chosen by the readers for #ZCbookclub, I was excited to find out what this new material would bring into our lives.
NEVER date your best friend.
ALWAYS be original.
SOMETIMES rules are meant to be broken.
Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliches, so 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, but Dave has a secret : he's broken rule No.8, never pine silently after someone for entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule No.10, never date your best friend.
Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember. 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 they've actually been missing out on high school.
AND MAYBE EVEN ON LOVE.
Let's start from the beginning. The first this which makes you even look at a book is its edition. I own the paperback published this August by Mira INK, an imprint of Harlequin (UK). 308 pages divided into three parts - DAVE; JULIA; DAVE & JULIA. Baby blue background with dark blue title and scraps of paper which I assume represents The Never List. Simple, yet beautiful design. I quite like it.
The writing is modern. Easy to read and relate to. It's quite hilarious at times. Exciting. Emotional. Eye-opening. Written from points of view of both main characters.
The story. It is a YA novel about friendship, un-required love and the right fit for everyone. When I first read the blur on the back, I thought it would be the classic plot line. A boy and a girl has been friends for a long time. He is in secretly in love with her and she doesn't feel the same. But something will happen and it will bring them together. And I was a little right than I thought.
Yes, this story is similar and follows quite familiar pattern, but at the same time it is so different. Firstly, I have to say that this is the first time I am not routing for the couple (the two best friends) to end up together. Don't get me wrong. I love Dave. He is a great guy. Polite, well behaved, romantic. Yes, he isn't perfect and has his dark moments. But I really really don't like Julia. I think she is quite selfish and doesn't think or take into consideration feelings of others or that she might hurt them. Spoiler!! Move onto the next paragraph if you don't want to read the small spoiler!! I think she only likes day or she only realises that she loves (?) him when he is finally moving on and she isn't the complete NO.1 for him. She needs to share him now. Quite convenient! Also, she doesn't care that she will hurt Gretchen as long as she gets what she wants. Yes, as I said, Dave isn't the saint himself, but I just don't like what Julia did.
But I having said that, although I am not routing for these to as couple, I am a fan and admirer of their friendship. They have a great chemistry and connection and quite frankly they are so easy with each other. But I am a shipper of Gretchen and Dave. I think they are a great, loved-up, couple - the better equitation. And just because Julia and Dave share this wonderful friendship, it doesn't mean that they will make a good couple. So yes! There! I said it! I don't want them to end up together. Sue me! I like Gretchen. She is my favourite character in this story. I see a lot of me in her.
What I like about this novel the most is the fact that we all ponder with the thought of falling in love with our best friend. It would be easier. You know each other so well. You have a good chemistry. You understand each other like no other. But what happens when you become a couple and the friendship disappears into background and all you are is a couple. You lose the original thing which brought you two together. Should you risk it? Do you think it would work out? Adi Alsaid addresses all these issues in this story. And he writes the perfect ending to it. It couldn't come to a better conclusion.
So all in all, I have to say that I truly enjoyed reading this story. I must say that I even liked it more than Let's Get Lost. It was a heart-breaking story which make you re-think all of your friendships and their course.
So thank you Adi for approaching this subject from a different point of view. It was beautiful. Mesmerising. Emotional. I cannot wait to read more of your stories. Keep it up!!