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 clichés 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 #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. 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.
Having read (and loved) Let’s Get Lost in 2014, I was eager to get my hands on a copy of Adi Alsaid’s new novel Never Always Sometimes. Now obviously, Alsaid had a lot to live up to; Let’s Get Lost was a brilliant road trip book and an adventure I would gladly take again. Thankfully, Never Always Sometimes did not show any signs of second album syndrome. In fact, I think it outshines Let’s Get Lost.
The story is of an unbreakable friendship between Dave and Julia. Friends for five years they have always been loners together. However, in the final weeks of high school they try to cram in as many clichéd high school experiences before they graduate. It is through this experience that feelings are felt for the first time, feelings are hurt and relationships become broken.
Never Always Sometimes is wonderful. Our two protagonists, Julia and Dave are presented so well that you feel like you are watching your own friends going through this treacherous high school experience. You frequently want to bang their head together and tell them what you think. What I think is very clever but very subtle is the way that Alsaid uses their familial back story to shape the people that they have become but without using it as a justification tool. Smooth move Alsaid!
The story is about acting out teenage clichés but that is one thing that Never Always Sometimes definitely is not. The story is fresh; it pops off the page and urges you to read on. Personally, I wish I had friends like Dave and Julia when I was in school. It would have made it a lot more of an enjoyable experience.
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid is available now.
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