Letter Essay #7
I recently finished the book Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, a realistic fiction, 320 page, novel released in 2015. The story follows two best friends, Julia and Dave. They’ve been together, attached at the hip, for as long as they both can remember. During the summer before their freshman year of high school, they made a list. Specifically, a Nevers list. The list consists of ten rules that they promised to follow for all of high school to avoid a cliché high school experience. They wrote down guidelines such as never dye your hair a color found in a rainbow, or never attend a party at the Kapoor brothers’ house (Or any party where the invite is just the word BEER). Through freshman, sophomore, and junior year they obey by these rules and pretty much avoid anything social all together. That is until their senior year. What seemed like any ordinary morning with Julia looking out the window listening to her music, then Dave coming along and taking out one earbud and waiting until she starts talking first. Then she says they should do the Nevers. Every rule they wrote out, they were going to do for their senior year, to “create memories”. And Dave is all for it. They start right away, dyeing their hair pink and green (which Dave then later regretted and got his head shaved), attended and even hosted their own beer party, and Dave goes from a complete loner to the most popular guy in school with the prettiest girl as his girlfriend, Gretchen, after he decides to run for prom king while Julia goes a little psycho by trying to win over her teacher, Mr. Maroney, by stalking him and climbing in his house through open windows to leave him cards and gifts. The more they begin to do the Nevers the more they begin to fall in love with each other. Besides the fact that Dave has practically been love with her since they met, Julia comes to realization with her feelings for Dave. But he’s dating Gretchen. They push through, make unthinkable decisions, and strive to finish the Nevers even when things get rough w/ Gretchen. Will they manage to reach their goal?
Something that confused me was the whole plot itself. Although the whole point is that they made this list so they could have a unique and unclichė high school experience, but the idea of going against the list and doing everything on it for their senior year to create memories makes the book a clichė itself! I mean I get that without that whole aspect of the story then there would be no story at all, but once again it seemed to come off as a book that can give a reader false hope and false expectations for high school. Now this has been one of my favorite books of all time but I think it’s time that some books are published around these subjects without those clichės and perfect endings.
Something that surprised me was the plot twist at the ending where Dave decided it was best to go back to Gretchen and not to stay with Julia. The change was almost right at the end of the book right before prom. It was almost out of nowhere because in the previous chapters they were hanging out almost every day and they stayed the night at the beach together. Although in the back of mind I saw this coming. Through all their time Dave was always thinking about how Gretchen would react and what she was doing.
One quote that stuck with me was when Gretchen is showing Dave her tattoo for the first time. The saying, “A little better than you found it,” that’s written on her confuses him so he asks what to means. She responds, “Well, it’s part of a longer quote, this really beautiful passage about how the best you can ever do is to leave the world a little better than you found it. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Invest a new toaster or reach out a helping hand; just, you know, leave it a little better than you found it.” This is a really important passage because not only its true but it applies to Gretchen more than anyone else in the story. She has the reputation of being everybody’s friend and being the nice girl. So I feel like this quote reflects on her because she’s always striving to make everyone happy and avoid conflict.
Overall I rate this book a 10/10 and I suggest it to anyone who likes cliché plots and who likes stories with a love story (or in this case a love triangle) and realistic fiction.