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Hi! I'm Selan. I love anime, sci-fi & fantasy, Kirby and 90s JRPGs. Right now I'm trying to expand my collection of books.


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Never Always Sometimes: A coming-of-age novel (Harlequin Teen) - Adi Alsaid

Dave and Julia are two high-schoolers who have decided to make a list of all the high-school cliches that they would become a part of. A list of "Nevers". Never attend a party with the Kapoors. Never hook up with a teacher. Never become prom king/queen. Never date your best friend.


The twist? Dave is in love with Julia, and has been as long as he can remember. So he's technically already broken that last one on the list. 


Gee, I wonder how THIS could turn out.


The problem with this book is that, despite these two teenagers being so determined to stay out of cliches, they're literally a walking cliche by themselves. Teenagers already rebel against the norm. If this is all there is to the book, then you're already going to get bored - but wait! Romance! Love triangle! Just like...every other YA book ever. God. I'm sick of this shit. I mean it, I'm sick of it.


Strangely enough, the romance is what kept me reading the book. There was even a twist at the end because I assumed that Dave was always to end up with Julia.


However, here's the main problem of the book: our protagonists are really, really, really fucking boring and uninteresting and I don't give a monkey about them.


They're just written so simply and to sound like ordinary teenagers - which is fine - except that almost every other character is more engaging than they are. Dave was your typical protagonist, thoughtful and kind, never stops going on about how much he loves Julia in his internal monologue. I wanted it to end. He would not stop.


Halfway through the book, we get Julia's POV and discover that actually she was in love with Dave the whole bloody time. Wow. Really? She also got on my nerves a lot. She is always being a smartass, cracking jokes, being irritatingly sassy - and not in an endearing way, but in a really annoying way. 


There's a part where they throw a party at their house. Julia finds out that Dave has kissed this other girl who isn't her and gets pretty pissy at him. When he's gone, she breaks a few things, punches the wall, smashes the window, etc. There's vomit on the carpet, the place is a mess.


When her parents turn up and demand to know what's happened to their house, the way she talks to them is just atrocious. I swear, I wanted to slap her. Even worse, her parents just seemed to take it in their stride. No grounding, nothing. They gave her a lecture and then it all went away.


I mean what is this? What IS this? It's really irritating when you write the parents as being "cool, so hip, so down with the kids" - because they're not! You want them to appeal to the target demographic, is that it? It just makes them seem incompetent and lousy role models! This is hardly the first time I've seen this in a YA novel...


I wish the book had developed the side characters. We meet a jock at some point and he has more personality than anyone else, really. But no, the only other person who is really developed is Gretchen, the other girl pushed into the love triangle.


I really liked Gretchen, actually. Apparently, she's supposed to be a blonde popular girl, but the use of the name Gretchen made me think of that girl from Recess. You know. The nerdy girl with glasses. I mean come on.


Still, she was much more likeable than that smartass Julia. Mainly because she wasn't Julia, and thus better to read about.


There's a part in the book where Dave wants to ask out Gretchen to the prom. He does so by creating a stupidly drawn-out treasure hunt where she has to find all these roses. All twelve of them.


Twelve?? Twelves fucking roses?! Just to ask a girl out? It's literally like a treasure hunt, leading her from rose to rose. He serenades her at the end. For god's sake, just ASK her without resorting to this madness.


I mean...what if she had said no? Imagine that. Imagine spending hours and hours putting all these shitty roses in different places, leading your crush to each one (one of them was high up in a tree), only to have her say "Sorry, I'm actually not into you." I mean come on!


I fully expected her to say no to him because the entire thing was absolutely ridiculous. I was amazed when nothing actually went wrong.


The love triangle goes on from there, and one of the girls ends up forever alone because Dave was her only friend and she didn't bother to think of getting any other friends because she avoided everyone else in school because she's a stupid cliche. The end.


It's not a terrible book, I guess, but it is really REALLY bland. It's really not worth wasting your time on. Even the title should be evidence of that enough. I just started skimming over the last few chapters because it was just mushy stuff between characters I couldn't stand.