Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Title: Never Always Sometimes                               
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publication: August 1st 2015, Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Pinoy Book Tours (Check out the tour)


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 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 No. 5, never die your hair a colour of the rainbow, or No. 7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule No. 8, never pine silently after someone for the 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.

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.

Misfit Review:

Things I NEVER got to do in high school:

1. I NEVER had a lunch spot.
2. We didn't have prom, so I NEVER got to be prom queen (WTF?) and I NEVER got into student council.
3. I NEVER attended any beer parties coz I NEVER got invited into any of them.
4. I NEVER hosted a BEER party coz my Dad would've killed me or disowned me by then.. Plus I don't drink liquor. HA!
5. I NEVER dyed my hair a different color. Catholic private schools weren't lax about that kinda stuff.
6. I NEVER got to streak, skinny dip, or do anything else that could result in a viral nude pic, coz why? LOL
7. I NEVER hooked up with a teacher coz hello, Catholic school... The horror. (We also never got substitutes, so... too bad)
9. I NEVER got to go on a "life-changing" road trip coz I never looked for myself then.
10. And, I NEVER dated my best friend... coz well, I didn't swing that way... also, I didn't have male best friends in high school.

As you can see, I passed entirely on the Nevers list, created by Dave and Julia during their freshmen year, trying to be original teenagers, running away from the cliches of high school drama and whatnot. Except for #8 tho... I did that the four years... :)

This practically means, I think I had an original high school life if I got to get around those cliches... This would also probably mean that schools in the US and the Philippines are quite different anyway. I dunno. HA! But, on the senior year of Dave and Julia's high school life, they decide to break the rules on the Nevers list and try to do each one of them, and they seem to be missing out on a lot of stuff, and as #10 is looming over to be crossed out, they find out they've been missing out on something also quite important.

Why this book is cute is because, of course, it's high school and at the same time, the characters are quite adorable, especially Julia.. She reminds me a lot of Margo Roth Spiegelman, and I love Margo so much. Julia's quirky and out there and just seems to be like a good person to be around. But we all knew how much Margo was such a whole lot of work, and Julia wasn't any different, but I guess since I tolerated Margo, the tinge of annoyance I felt for Julia was somehow saved by the character resemblance.

But as much as this book is cute and fluffy, I think in an realistic standpoint, we all wish high school was this easy, and that people like this actually exist in real life. Dave felt a little too passive-aggressive, especially in terms of his feelings for both Julia and Gretchen. Like, dude, make up your mind, whut?  Julia, though I liked her, felt a little snarky and definitely out there, fun though. The characters seem easy to deal with at first but their not the type of characters you'd learn from, you get me?  In short, they're not the type of people you'll actually get an advise from.

I wish it was also easy to mastermind certain things off of that list, like stalking your teacher and making them fall in love with you, or the prom king thing. It's funny and fun but at the same time, you'd think, could that actually work? It felt like because they tried to cross off things on the list that the book actually became the actual cliche that some books put out there. I think if it was weird and original, then as much as people would think it's not an actual representation of high school, it just might be on a league of its own. This book however, did not pass on being original as I would hope it would be.

What I did like about this book is that it made me happy. As much as some people find it to be quite dire and annoying, I appreciate it for actually taking me out of my slump. To me, it was a fun read, and also something that you'd actually consider if you're just looking for a read about hipster-ish friendships. I think the problem is that, we've become more assertive towards books. I think we've shifted away from the simple times. We've become immune to the cliches and we want something that can impact us in a way that feels different, without pushing our buttons to the limit.

Adi Alsaid seems to have the nicest intentions of making this book bloom with its friendship. His writing style reminds me of John Green and it's pretty great, though I think could be utilized in deeper characters, settings and situations. He does know how to manipulate them. I think the real issue is how they got mixed in with the plot. But it was pretty bearable.

Never Always Sometimes is not an entirely great read. It's something you can take out from the shelves if you want to, but be prepared for things... And by things I mean, things that would either annoy you or make you happy. This book actually made me happy, maybe because I was looking for something to take me out of my slump. I think that's the kind of impact that it has left. 

About The Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.

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