Never Always Sometimes

Book review by
Amanda May Dundas, Common Sense Media
Never Always Sometimes Book Poster Image
Best friends veer toward love in sweet, offbeat romance.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Portrays some typical high school behaviors, some of them risky and illegal.

Positive Messages

Be open to new experiences. Don't be afraid of difficult decisions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Loyal friends Dave and Julia show the true meaning of friendship.

Violence
Sex

High school students have sex, but no graphic details are given. There's talk of breaking the vow to never have sex with a teacher, but that vow remains unbroken.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

High school seniors use drugs and alcohol regularly at parties where parents aren't home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Never Sometimes Always, by Adi Alsaid (Let's Get Lost), is a lighthearted high school romance and coming-of-age story told in alternating narratives between best friends Julia and Dave. Having spent most of high school in self-imposed isolation from other social groups, they rediscover a list they'd made of typical teen things never to do in school, such as "Never run for prom king or queen" and "Never go on an epic, life-changing road trip." Bored and suffering from senioritis, they decide to do everything on the list, and they learn a lot in the process. Though there's some underage drinking, talk of hooking up with a teacher, and teenagers having sex, Dave and Julia are smart, responsible teenagers who always try to do the right thing, even in difficult situations. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byABookworm19 June 23, 2017

Touching Story, Dynamic Characters

The story opens on the main characters, best friends Dave and Julia, as they make a list of the "nevers", or clichés they are determined not to do in... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytsmith531 February 20, 2017

What's the story?

Dave and Julia have always been best friends. Both are basically motherless (Dave's mother died when he was little, and Julia is raised by two dads, although she's in sporadic contact with her biological mom), and, perhaps as a result, their relationship is incredibly close. Now in their senior year, they find an old list they'd compiled detailing all sorts of common high school behaviors they swore to avoid, and they decide to do everything on the list. Julia doesn't know that Dave, in love with her for years, has already broken the last vow on their list: "Never secretly pine after someone for all of high school." As they start acting more like typical teens -- attending keg parties and campaigning for prom king -- they discover just what they've been missing, including the possibility of love.

Is it any good?

This romantic coming-of-age story about two teens doing everything they swore they'd never do in high school shows how beautiful the gray areas of life can be. The football captain may be a nice, interesting guy or the nerdy math teacher may have important life lessons to share. What starts out as a joke exercise for seniors Dave and Julia turns into a formative experience as they learn that life is too messy to be divided into things you want to do "always" or "never"; you could miss out on many amazing opportunities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like when your feelings for a friend change. Have you ever started liking a friend more or less or in a way different from before?

  • Why are teen books with do- or do-not lists so popular? What about the structure of a list helps move the story along?

  • What's one experience you want to have in high school?

Book details

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