Never Always Sometimes – Adi Alsaid
When I saw this I knew I had to have it, Let’s Get Lost is simply one of the best books I have ever read. For serious. You can check out the review by clicking here. It turns out that Adi Alsaid is rather consistent in that respect because this was also pretty spectacular.
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 #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. 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.
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.
I think I’ve said this before, but I am a sucker for a pretty cover. Adi Alsaid (or perhaps the agent/publisher) is incredibly lucky that they have such a talented cover designer at their fingertips, both the cover for this and the cover for Lets Get Lost are amazing. Not only are they pretty to look at and hipster tastic, they also manage to convey the feel of the story before you’ve even flipped over for the blurb. Let’s Get Lost had that marvellous map design which went with the idea of going on a roadtrip to find yourself and this has the paper that is gradually being trashed, just as the rules are in the novel. It’s a simplistic design, as the book is a simplistic concept, but it works really well. Anyway, that’s enough about what this thing looks like, it’s what is inside that counts after all.
If you’re a lover of irony, you are going to think this is the best thing since sliced bread. Or you know, something else that you enjoy if you’re not a lover of sliced bread or allergic to gluten or something. This is a book about two teenagers who spend their whole school lives avoiding every high school cliche they possibly can, in fact they made a list of things they would never do. Then they decide they would get every cliche over with before they leave for university. This whole book is in itself a cliche. Irony, don’t you just love it?
On the surface, this book may look like another John Green style story with quirky teenagers who are the very epitome of Tumblr’s special snowflakes, like I said when discussing the cover, the story is a simple concept, but once you get over that hump and start getting into the story, the whole thing quickly grabs hold of your imagination. Dave and Julia are the tumblr special snowflakes of our tale, who never go to parties or socialise with their high school friends because they are so much more intelligent and interesting than their peers, which as a first glance, may appear to be a bit pretentious and ridiculous, but once you get to know them a little more, you see that this is just teenage tomfoolery and seeing them pack in the high school experience into their last few weeks of school is actually very enjoyable and even though the unrequited love with the best friend thing has been done to death, the tension caused by this particular situation was interesting to read and ya’ll know I love some awesome friendly banter and dear God did Julia and Dave have some exceptional banter.
Aside from the bants, my absolute favourite thing about this whole book was Gretchen. Gretchen is the character that deserves the most recognition. Not only is she incredibly mature, understanding and intelligent, she also has the best line in the whole book. She is the genius behind this snippet: A little better than you found it, the best you can ever do is leave the world a little better than you found it. If that isn’t a wonderful sentiment to take away from this book, I don’t know what is.
I left school a really long time ago now and I was in no way cool enough to be a cliche or to actively avoid said cliches, but this book made me nostalgic for being seventeen and hanging out in our particular part of the room, judging the more popular kids for being more popular than us and generally having the time of our lives. I think this might be a side effect of reading Adi Alsaid books, because Lets Get Lost had me feeling all nostalgic and full of wanderlust too.
I’ll be honest, this isn’t as strong as Lets Get Lost, which I bloody loved, but this is still a decent story full of witty exchanges, intelligent conversations, an AMAZING PIECE OF SLAM POETRY, like for serious, that poem is amazing, fun, school based hijinx and general hilarity. If you like John Green books, if you like Perks of Being a Wallflower, then you need this in your life. And if you haven’t experience Adi Alsaid yet, you really need to.