Never Always Sometimes

Never Always Sometimes

by Adi Alsaid

Paperback(Original)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373212101
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 07/26/2016
Edition description: Original
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 168,591
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He's now back in Mexico City, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. His books include Let's Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. Visit Adi online at www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.

Read an Excerpt

THE KIDS WALKING past Dave seemed to be in some other universe. They moved too quickly, they were too animated, they talked too loudly. They held on to their backpacks too tightly, checked themselves in tiny mirrors hanging on the inside of their lockers too often, acted as if everything mattered too much. Dave knew the truth: Nothing mattered. Nothing but the fact that when school was out for the day, he and Julia were going to spend the afternoon at Morro Bay.

No one had told him that March of senior year would feel like it was made of Jell-O. After he'd received his acceptance letter from UCLA, high school had morphed into something he could basically see through. When, two days later, Julia received her congratulations from UCSB, only an hour up the coastline, the whole world took on brighter notes, like the simple primary colors of Jell-O flavors. They giggled constantly.

Julia's head appeared by his side, leaning against the locker next to his. It was strange how he could see her every day and still be surprised by how it felt to have her near. She knocked her head against the locker softly and combed her hair behind her ear. "It's like time has ceased to advance. I swear I've been in Marroney's class for a decade. I can't believe it's only lunch."

"here is nothing in here I care about," Dave announced into his locker. He reached into a crumpled heap of papers on top of a history textbook he hadn't pulled out in weeks and grabbed a single, ripped page. "Apparently, I got a C on an art assignment last year." He showed the drawing to Julia: a single palm tree growing out of a tiny half moon of an island in the middle of a turquoise ocean.

"Don't show UCLA that. hey'll pull your scholarship."

Dave crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it at a nearby garbage can. It careened off the edge and rolled back to his feet. He picked it up and shoved it back into the locker. "Any notable Marroney moments today?"

"I can't even remember," Julia said, moving aside to make room for Dave's locker neighbor. "he whole day has barely registered." She put her head on Dave's shoulder and let out a sigh. "I think he ate a piece of chalk."

It was pleasant torture, how casually she could touch him. Dave kept exploring the wasteland of his locker, tossing out a moldy, half-eaten bagel, occasionally unfolding a sheet of paper with mild curiosity, trying not to move too much so that Julia wouldn't either. He made a pile of papers to throw out and a much smaller one of things to keep. So far, the small pile contained two in-class notes from Julia and a short story he'd read in AP English.

"Still on for the harbor today?"

"It's the only thing that's kept me sane," Julia said, pulling away. "Come on, why are we still here? I'm starving. Marroney didn't ofer me any of his chalk."

"I do not care about any of this," Dave repeated. Liberated by the absence of her touch, he walked over to the trash can and dragged it toward his locker, then proceeded to shovel in the entirety of the contents except for the books. A USB memory stick was wrapped inside a candy wrapper, covered in chocolate, and he tossed that, too. A few sheets remained tucked into the corners, some ripped pieces stuck under the heavy history textbook.

But something caught his eye. One paper folded so neatly that for a second he thought it may have been a note he'd saved from his mom. She'd died when he was nine, and though he'd learned to live with that, he still treated the things she left behind like relics. But when he unfolded the sheet and realized what he was holding, a smile spread his lips. Dave's eyes went down the list to number eight: Never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school.

He looked at Julia, recalling the day they'd made the list, suddenly lushed with warmth at the thought that nothing had come between them in four years. She was holding on to her backpack's straps, starting to get impatient. Everything about Julia was beautiful to him, but it was the side of her face that he loved the most. The slope of her neck, the slight jut of her chin, how the blue in her eyes popped. Her ears, which were the cutest ears on the planet, or maybe the only cute ones ever crafted.

"David Nathaniel O'Flannery, why are we still here?"

"How have we been best friends for this long and you still don't know my full name?"

"I know most of your initials. Can we go, please?"

"Look at what I just found."

"Is it Marroney's mole from sophomore year?"

"Our Nevers list."

Julia turned around to face him. A couple of football players passed between them talking about a party happening on Friday. She was quiet, studying Dave with a raised eyebrow. "You wouldn't lie to me, would you, O'Flannery? I could never forgive you."

"Gutierrez. My last name is Gutierrez."

"Don't change the subject. Did you really find it?" She motioned for him to hand the paper over, which he did, making sure their ingers would brush. he linoleum hallways were starting to empty out, people were settling into their lunch spots. "I was actually thinking about this the other day. I even wrote my mom about it," Julia said, reading over the list. A smile shaped her lips, which were on the thin side, though Dave couldn't imagine wishing for them to be any different. "We did a pretty good job of sticking to this."

"Except for that time you hooked up with Marroney," Dave said, moving to her side and reading the list with her.

"I wish. He's such a dreamboat."

Dave closed his locker and they peered into classrooms they passed by, watching the teachers settle into their lunchtime rituals, doing some grading as they picked at meals packed into Tupperware. Dave and Julia wordlessly stopped in front of Mr. Marroney's room and watched him try to balance a pencil on the end of a yardstick.

"his is your one regret from high school?"

"here's a playful charm to him," Julia said, in full volume, though the door was open. "I'm surprised you don't see it." hey stared on for a while, then made their way out toward the cafeteria. he line was at its peak, snaking all the way around the tables and reaching almost to the door. he tables inside the cafeteria and out on the blacktop had long since been claimed. "Kind of cool that we never did get a permanent lunch spot," Dave said, gesturing with the list in hand. "I hadn't even remembered that it was on the list. Had you?"

"No," Julia said. "he subconscious is weird." She reached into her bag and grabbed a Granny Smith apple, rubbing it halfheartedly on the hem of her shirt. "How do you feel about the gym today?"

He shrugged and they walked across the blacktop to the basketball gym tucked behind the soccer ield. hey had a handful of spots they sometimes went to, usually agreeing on a spot wordlessly, both of them headed in the same direction as if pulled by the same invisible string. hey entered the old building, which used to smell of mold until a new court had been installed, so now it smelled like mold and new wood. he walls were painted the school colors: maroon and gold. Next to the banners hanging from the ceiling there was a delated soccer ball pinned to the rafters.

Julia led them up the plastic bleachers. A group of kids was shooting around, and one of them looked at Dave and called out to him. "Hey, man, we need one more! You wanna run?"

"No, thanks," Dave said. "I had a really bad dream about basketball once and I haven't been able to play since." he kid frowned, then looked over at his friends who shook their heads and laughed. Dave took a seat next to Julia as the kids resumed their shooting. "I think you've used that one before," Julia said, taking a bite out of her apple.

"I'm kind of ofended on your behalf that they don't ask you to play."

"hey did once."

"Really?" Dave rummaged through his backpack for the Tupperware he'd packed himself in the morning. "Why don't I remember that?"

"I was really good. Dunked on people. Scored more points than I did on the SAT. Every male in the room suppressed the memory immediately to keep their egos from disintegrating."

Dave laughed as he scooped a plastic forkful of chicken and rice. It was a recipe he vaguely remembered from childhood, one he'd found in his mom's old cookbooks and had taught himself to make. His dad and his older brother, Brett, never said anything about it, but the leftovers never lasted more than two days. "So, you've heard from your mom recently?" Julia had been raised by her adoptive fathers, but her biological mom had always lingered on the fringe, occasionally keeping in touch. Julia idolized her, and Dave, who'd been yearning for his mom for years, could never fault her for it.

"Yeah," Julia said, unable to keep a smile from forming. "She's even been calling. I heard the dads tell her the other day that she's welcome anytime, so there's a chance that a visit is in the works."

Dave reached over and grabbed Julia's head, shaking it from side to side. Long ago, in the awkward years of middle school, that had been established as his one gesture of afection when he didn't know how else to touch her. "Julia! hat's great."

"You goof, I'm gonna choke on my apple." She shook him of. "I don't want to get my hopes up."

"Her hopes should be up. Her biological daughter is awesome."

"She's lived in eight countries and has worked with famous painters and sculptors. No ofense, dear friend, but I think her standards for awesome are a little higher than yours."

Dave took another forkful of rice and chewed it over slowly, watching the basketball players shoot free throws to decide on teams. "I don't care how great of a life she's led, if she doesn't come visit you she's a very poor judge of awesomeness."

He glanced out the corner of his eye at Julia, who set her apple core aside and grabbed a napkin-wrapped sandwich out of her bag. He was waiting to catch that smile of hers, to know he had caused it. Instead, he only saw her eyes lick toward the Nevers list, which was resting folded on his knee. hey turned their attention to the pickup game happening on the court, each eating their lunch languidly.

For the last two periods of the day, Dave could feel the seconds ticking by, like bugs crawling on his skin. He reread the Nevers list, smiling to himself at the memory of him and Julia stealing the pen away from each other to write the next item. He gazed out the window at the blue California sky, texted Julia beneath his desk, scowled at the two kids in the back of the room who somehow believed that what they were doing was quiet enough to be called whispering. Next to him, Anika Watson took diligent notes, and he wondered how she was mustering the energy. He wondered how many of the items on the Nevers list she'd done, whether she was going to the Kapoor party that he'd overheard was happening that Friday night. Looking around the room, he imagined a little number popping up above each person's head depicting how many Nevers they'd done.

At the final releasing bell of the day, Dave and Julia met up in the hallway, silently making their way out to the parking lot, where Julia's supposedly white Mazda Miata should have been glimmering in the California sun but was barely reflective thanks to the year-long layer of dust she'd never bothered to clean off.

Before Julia said anything, Dave knew what she'd been thinking about. He knew her well enough to read her silences, and there'd been only one thing on her mind since he'd found the list. He smiled as she spoke. "What if we did the list?"

Dave shrugged and tossed his backpack into her trunk. "Why would we?"

"Because two more months of this will drive me crazy," Julia said. She unzipped her light blue hoodie and threw it into the car on top of his backpack, then stepped out of her sandals and slipped those into the trunk, too. "We've got nothing left to prove to ourselves. High school didn't change us. Maybe it's time to try out what everyone else has been doing. Just for kicks. God knows we could use some entertaining."

It was one of those perfect seventy-five-degree days, more L.A. than San Francisco, though San Luis Obispo was perfectly in between the two cities. A breeze was blowing, and now that Julia was wearing only her tank top it almost tired him how beautiful she was. It'd been a long time of this, keeping his love for her subdued. It'd been a long time of letting her rest her head on his shoulder during their movie nights, of letting her prop her almostalways bare feet on his lap, his hands nonchalantly gripping her ankles. He'd been a cliché all four years of high school, in love with his best friend, pining silently.

He opened the passenger door and looked across the roof ofJulia's car, which was more brown than white, covered with raindrop-shaped streaks of dirt, though it hadn't rained in weeks. "I hear there's a party at the Kapoors' on Friday."

Julia beamed a smile at him. "Look at you. In the know."

"I'm an influential man, Ms. Stokes. I'm expected to keep up with current events."

Julia snorted and plopped herself down into the driver's seat. "So, no Friday movie night, then? We're going to a party? With beers in red plastic cups and Top 40 music being blasted and kids our age? People hooking up in upstairs bedrooms and throwing up in the bushes outside and at least one girl running out in tears?"

"Presumably," Dave said. "I've never actually been to a party, so I have no idea if that's what happens."

Julia lowered the top of the car, then pulled out of the school's parking lot and turned right, headed toward California One and the harbor at Morro Bay.

"So, we're doing this?" Dave asked. "We're gonna join in on what everyone else has been doing?"

"Why not?" Julia said, and Dave couldn't help but smile at the side of her face, the way the sun made her eyes impossibly blue, how he could see her mom on her thoughts. "I'll come over before the party so we can decide what we're going to wear."

"And we can talk about how drunk we're gonna get," Dave added.

"And who we're gonna make out with."

"Yup."

Dave turned to face the road and sank into his seat. He lowered the mirror visor and stuck his arm out the side of the car, feeling the sun on his skin. He kept smiling, too experienced at hiding to let the tiny heartbreak show.

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Never Always Sometimes 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Never Always Sometimes, Adi Alsaid creates a realistic fiction story of two high school seniors, Dave and Julia who have been friends since freshman year. Throughout high school Dave and Julia wanted to be original and avoid high school clichés at all costs. "They even wrote their own 'Never List' of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school." However, in the end of the school year, both had been accepted to college and were bored trying to get through the end of school, they decide to do everything on the 'Never List'. When the two start to complete each 'never' on the list they realize they both have broke number eight "Never pine after someone for the entirety of high school."Alsaid intensely writes about the struggle high school can be especially if you have been in love with your best friend for so many years. Alsaid also makes the point that sometimes avoiding clichés can make you a cliché and being a cliché is not always such a bad thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it and you will too!
MariahEllis More than 1 year ago
I have so many mixed feelings about this book. I liked it, but I didn't overly enjoy it. The characters were perfect and awful. I really loved the banter between Dave and Julia, and all the names that Julia would call Dave were fantastic. At the same time though, they kept making decisions and doing things to each other that just appalled me. I hated the way Julia treated her dads. They seemed so awesome, caring, and loving, but she was kind of a b**** towards them. There was a lot of really good humor throughout the entire story, and I laughed out loud on several occasions. After reading and loving Let's Get Lost, I was quite disappointed with Never Always Sometimes. The premise was cute, and the main plot line was different from anything else I remember. I feel like I mostly liked everything in the book, but for some reason I just felt so blah while reading. It's like it was on the edge of being something great, but little details kept holding it back. I would definitely encourage you to read this story, even though I didn't love it, I'm glad I read it. If you are looking for something light and funny, that won't take you months to slough through, this is your book.
indielookssogoodonyou More than 1 year ago
Dave and Julia avoid becoming cliches in high school by creating a list. The list includes such stigmas as never dying your hair or never dating your best friend. Like all great rules, they were meant to be broken. Dave had broken a rule and isn't sure how to tell her; especially since its the fact that he likes her. They decide senior year to ironically complete the list and realize how much they missed out on by creating the list and following it. This is my favorite book! I absolutely loved the idea and the writing. I definitely recommend giving this magnificent book a read.
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS I had really high expectation for this book. Adi Alsaid's last book, Let's Get Lost, was phenomenal. It was fun, heartbreaking, and I adored it. So, of course, I was excited for more brilliance from Adi Alsaid, but this book wasn't what I was expecting. It's a good book and I like it, but it's not a 'new' book and certainly wasn't the funny, unique book I was expecting. Dave and Julia are best friends and at the start of high school, they create a list of 'Nevers'. The list includes cliches that high schoolers often get into. Rules like, Never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, secretly pine for someone, run for prom king, etc. It isn't until the list is rediscovered senior year that they decide to do ALL of the things on the list. But Dave already has done something on the list, he's been pining for Julia. I really like the idea of the Nevers and I was very curious to see how they would go about them all. It was indeed very interesting seeing how they did, since it's not like they follow the list exactly to a point, they randomly did things throughout the year and things happened because of them. While I wish this book could've been about the list entirely, it wasn't really the main focus, which I guess is okay. As I mentioned, they do things throughout the year, so it's not like they set out to do the list in a day or a week, that means that other stuff is also going on at the same time. I admit that I was kind of bored by the normal school life and things, but it did make things realistic. I think that is a plus in this book, the realism. This book felt very realistic and, yes, that might have been why I was bored at points. The relationships, both romantic and friend oriented, were very realistic to a point that you don't see often in books. Many relationships, especially romance, are exaggerated in books. I felt this way in Adi's last book as well, so I can definitely say that he can certainly write realistic contemporaries. Now, I was a bit bothered by how ironically cliche this book was, even know I shouldn't be. Why? I just get the feeling that this book was supposed to be cliche. The book is about two teens who are against being cliche teenagers, but in the end are they actually cliche? This is actually an important part about the book and I do believe that the cliche-ness was on purpose. Doesn't mean that I didn't groan at the cliche-ness at points. IN CONCLUSION Overall, this is a good contemporary read, but it's not what I was expecting and not quite as good as Adi's debut novel. I love the idea and wish it was focused on that more, despite the fact that not doing so made things more realistic. If you enjoy such books, pick this one up, but I recommend Adi's previous book more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
The summer before freshman year, Dave and Julia made a promise: They would never fall into the trap of a cliche high school experience. No hair dyed a color found in the rainbow. No hooking up with a teacher. No crazy parties. With senior year about to end, Dave realizes he's broken rule eight: Never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. Meanwhile rule number ten--never date your best friend--seems impossible to break. Dave has loved Julia from afar for years. When she suggests they complete all of the items on the list of Nevers, Dave readily agrees. But as Dave and Julia work their way down the list, they realize they have been a lot by skipping the high school cliches even as they begin to understand that some rules shouldn't be broken in Never, Always, Sometimes (2015) by Adi Alsaid. Never, Always, Sometimes is Alsaid's second novel. Never, Always, Sometimes is a sweet blend of nostalgia for the quintessential high school experience (something Dave and Julia soon realize they have unfairly scorned for the past four years), fun hijinks and an unexpected romance. While the premise is brimming with potential, the execution in Never, Always, Sometimes is often disappointing. Dave and Julia are, perhaps intentionally, unbearably pretentious at the start of the novel. While both protagonists do learn over the course of the story, it often comes too little to late in terms of making them sympathetic characters. The novel is broken into three parts and alternates tight third-person focus between Dave and Julia. Some reviewers have mentioned having issues with Julia's voice. I'd posit instead that the bigger issue is that Dave and Julia's "voices" are often indistinguishable despite Alsaid often sharing the character's inner thoughts throughout the narrative. Never, Always, Sometimes is sure to appeal to readers looking for a new story about characters getting ready to start college. Readers looking for wacky hijinks and shenanigans will appreciate the list aspect of this story as Dave and Julia check items off their Never list with varying results. Possible Pairings: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando, Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan, Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales *A copy this book was acquired from the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2015*
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
Bittersweet is the first word that comes to mind with this one. For some reason, I was anticipating more of a romantic comedy, which this wasn't. And that's OK. The characters are relatable and their struggles are consistent with being teenagers. The love triangle aspect is there, sure, but again, these ARE teenagers we're talking about. I don't know too many real-life teens who have it all figured out. I like Adi's writing style and I'm looking forward to what he comes up with next.
SezjbSB More than 1 year ago
2.5 Stars. From the very start Never Always Sometimes had me excited, I adore my cheesy YA contemporary romances, even better when it features a guy and a girl who are best-friends and secretly in love with one another, and that's what I wanted and expected to get, I was enjoying this book immensely and then it got towards the end and to say I was disappointed is putting it lightly, I HATED the end, there I said it, I don't enjoy saying that but it just ruined the whole entire book for me, and it just didn't make sense to me whatsoever, that might also be because the story didn't go where I fully expected it to, I wanted the cliche' so badly, this was on it's way to being a five star read and now I'm conflicted as to what rating to actually give it, which is really frustrating for a book that I was so into. I really enjoyed the friendship between Dave and Julia, and their characters, by the end of the book I had nothing but dislike for Dave and immense sympathy and pity for Julia, I felt so bad for her I ended up in tears, that's how good Adi's writing is, unfortunately the storytelling was not to my liking, too bittersweet and unfulfilling for me, not what I wanted when I picked Never Always Sometimes up, however I did enjoy the writing style and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another of Adi's books, I'd probably have to check to make sure I wasn't going to be unhappily surprised by the end before giving it a go though.