Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid


Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Purchased

Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 stars

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 dye 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.


“Human beings are more or less formulas. Pun intended. We are not any one thing that is mathematically probable. We are more or less than we are anything.”

Before starting high school, best friends Dave and Julia made a list of “Nevers” consisting of 10 typical high school clichés they refused to do in order to have an original high school experience. Fast forward to almost the end of their senior year, with college acceptances in and senioritis at it’s peak, Dave and Julia decide to complete all of the Nevers and allow themselves to have a more complete high school experience.

Never Always Sometimes is written in third person, but the story is written in three parts with the points of view changing during each (Dave, Julia, and Dave/Julia). Based on the amount of pages allotted to each part, you’re able to get a good amount of insight into Dave. He’s a very complex and fun character to read about. The first 30 pages or so, he wasn’t much of a favourite, but after that, I really enjoyed his chapters. Everything he said or did always had me wanting to keep reading.

Julia, however, seemed a little one dimensional to me. Where as I feel like Dave developed a lot over the course of the story, Julia seemed the same for 90% of the story and changed a bit towards the end. Then again, Dave seemed more put together in general than Julia had.

The other characters in the book were enjoyable to read about. Most times they appeared, they had something to offer to the story. Nothing is worse than a book where the secondary characters are there just because there needs to be a few, and in turn they are pointless to everything going on. Gretchen, Vince, and Brett all made their appearances and left their mark. Especially Gretchen. Every time she was there, it made the chapter I was reading so much better. She seemed like such a sweetheart and I kind of wish we got to know more about her because she was that great.

“That’s not enough. To be sorry you hurt me is not enough for me to forgive you.”

Adi Alsaid knows how to write a good YA novel. He had the right tone for a contemporary and nailed it with writing high school students. They weren’t these annoying little kids, but also didn’t seem like they were too ahead of themselves at 18. He also knows how to transport you into the setting of the book. Most times it felt like I could visualize this Californian high school vibe perfectly.

The plot of the book was good. At times a little unrealistic, but I guess that’s like most books in a high school setting. There’s always one or two plot points where you think “ok, there is absolutely no way on earth this is happening in real life. And if it did, it wouldn’t be happening that seamlessly.” The concept of the “Nevers” was intriguing and was one of the reasons I had thought to pick up Never Always Sometimes in the first place. Also, the story did not play out how I thought it was going to based on the synopsis/first little bit of the book. But oh my, am I ever happy with how it ended. The story ended up being much more than I expected, which was a very pleasant surprise.

The pacing was great. There was never any point in which I thought things were either progressing to slow or too quick. Everything moved along at a natural and realistic pace.

Overall, Never Always Sometimes was a really good contemporary YA read. Once I got past those first 30 pages, I didn’t want to put it down. Personally, novels in a high school setting are either a hit or a miss. This one was absolutely a hit. It was fun and charming and cute and all the other things a contemporary novel should be.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2018 (January-June)

Happy 2018 everyone! Hope your starts to the new year have been going great so far. One of my favourite things about the end of the year/start of the new year is going through all the lists on Goodreads of the releases coming out in 2018. I must admit that this year looks like it is going to be an insanely good year for books. There’s so many that sound incredible and it was really hard to narrow this list down to only 10 books, but I managed to do it.

Here’s my list, sorted by release date, of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2018. I’ve started reading The Woman in the Window this morning actually, and so far I’m intrigued. If any of these are on your list or you’ve read some already, let me know down in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | release date: January 2, 2018

2. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn | release date: January 2, 20188

3. Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by various authors | release date: January 2, 2018

4. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin | release date: January 9, 2018

5. The Beau & the Belle by R.S. Grey | release date: February 1, 2018

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6. She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop | release date: February 6, 2018

7. The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin | release date: February 13, 2018

8. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao | release date: March 6, 2018

9. Macbeth by Jo Nesbø | release date: April 5, 2018

10. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering | release date: June 12, 2018


5 Horror Books on my TBR

Happy Halloween month! In honour of it being the scary month of the year, I wanted to make a blog post about some horror books I’ve been wanting to pick up and read lately. I’ve been in such a horror mood but haven’t been sure where to start. I perused around on Goodreads for a bit and came up with these 5 books that seem like they’re right up my alley. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you have some suggestions of any great horror reads! I’m always open to book recommendations.

1. It by Stephen King

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

3. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

4. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

5. Dracula by Bram Stoker

Most Anticipated Releases of 2017 (July-December)

Oh goodness. There are waaaaay too many books coming out in the second half of the year that sound incredible. And not in the ‘wow this sounds interesting I’ll buy this if I have the chance’ kind of way, but in the ‘OK I NEED THIS THE DAY IT IS PUT FORTH INTO THE WORLD’ kind of way. If authors are going to keep being this great at writing stories I need, they’re going to have to come up with a way for me to read faster so I can keep up with them (totally kidding of course… blessing the world with their talent is plenty already).

Here’s my list, sorted by release date, of my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2017! If you’ve read any of these already, or are eagerly awaiting any of these books, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you guys think.

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1. The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams | release date: July 11, 2017

2. Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino | release date: August 15, 2017

3. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | release date: September 5, 2017

4. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | release date: September 5, 2017

5. The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy | release date: September 5, 2017

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6. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren | release date: September 12, 2017

7. Warcross by Marie Lu | release date: September 12, 2017

8. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows | release date: September 12, 2017

9. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake | release date: September 19, 2017

10. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater | release date: October 10, 2017

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

17453983Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 stars

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?


“Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?”

You’ve probably heard this all over the Internet before, but Anna and the French Kiss is truly one the best YA contemporary novels around. It’s a fluffy and light read about a girl sent to boarding school in Paris. Of course, she doesn’t want to suddenly have to go through this change of scenery, but it’s Paris. Come on. There are worse places for your parents to send you off to for school. While in Paris, Anna meets some cool new friends and an international hottie that I’m certain is on everyone’s “favourite book boyfriends” list. He’d definitely be on mine.

We have our main character, Anna, who has been sent to boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school by her romance novelist father (who gives me some serious Nicholas Sparks vibes) and she really doesn’t want to go. She has her mom and her brother, her best friend, and the guy she’s totally head-over-heals for who might have been about to be her boyfriend. She’s your run-of-the-mill not popular, ‘different than the other girls’ kind of girl, but she was still pleasant to read about.

Étienne was flawless. Not literally because he made some questionable decisions by being a bit of a baby for a hot minute, but I liked him anyway. I adored the fact that even though he wasn’t constantly described as being perfect physically, like most romantic interests are made out to be, he was still most girls’ crush. He had such an attractive demeanor and personality. And his dynamic with Anna. Oh my goodness. All those moments that would be heart-racing for them and have them thinking about those few seconds for days truly captured those feelings of falling for someone and having everything they do make your stomach go round in circles like a gymnast doing 800 flips during a floor routine.

“And then there’s the other thing. The thing I’m trying to ignore. The thing I shouldn’t want, the thing I can’t have. And he’s standing in front of me right now. So what do I wish for? Something I’m not sure I want? Something I’m not sure I need? Or someone I know I can’t have? Screw it. Let the fates decide. I wish for the thing that’s best for me.”

The writing of Anna and the French Kiss was such a treat. They way Stephanie Perkins was able to bring these characters to life was great. My absolute favourite part about the book was the setting. Besides Étienne, I mean. The way she described all the scenes and landmarks around the city of love made me feel like I was there. It was so easy to picture everything as it happened and to me that made Anna all the more romantic and enjoyable to read.

The plot was mostly great. Maybe it’s my own personal experience, but I can’t imagine being able to run around Paris by myself at 17. Every once in a while it made me think of the characters as older than a YA age range. Their personalities of course fit the bill of YA so it all balanced out in the end. This isn’t to stay I didn’t still adore the story as a whole though. I really do love this book.

The pacing of the novel was good. I appreciate the fact that it wasn’t insta-love. You knew they were clearly into each other from the start, but it took them some time to get to the finish line. They got a chance to develop their friendship before jumping into the relationship boat and I think as a reader it makes their feelings for each other feel more legitimate. They had time to truly think on their feelings and realize that how they each felt about each other was the real thing.

All in all, Anna and the French Kiss was a wonderful read. It’s one of those books you can get through in an instant and feel so satisfied about it when you’re finished. I highly recommend picking it up, especially to someone who is looking to play around in YA contemporary but not sure where to start. It’s a staple that is very much worth your time.