When I read YA books that primarily take place at a high school, I’m usually a little disappointed. Many of them just aren’t realistic, and my biggest issue is when the author just glosses over all of the problems so many high school students face. Luckily, I was happily surprised when Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole turned out to be one of the most realistic depictions of a high school setting that I’ve ever read.
Cass Randall is pretty sure she is the most boring person alive. All of her friends have filled out an online survey, and each one seems to have more interesting stories than the last. Cass, however, comes from a fundamentalist Christian family and, besides struggling to figure out what her own beliefs are and keeping her brother’s secret sexual orientation a secret, she thinks she might be the least-exciting person in existence. On a quest to make herself more interesting and simultaneously figure out who she is, Cass has to decide if popularity, notoriety, or her friends and family are most important.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it isn’t perfectly smooth or flawless. Cass faces challenges everywhere she turns. She’s not sure she believes in God even though her family is devoutly religious. She wants to be popular and well-known at school, but she’s also the only friend of her school’s least-popular girl. When her brother is bullied for being gay, she wants to stand up for him, but she isn’t sure how to because her parents don’t know.
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always is a very realistic representation of what it’s like to be in high school. Kids struggle to maintain friendships and build new connections and figure out who they are. It’s hard to know what you want when you’re constantly being pressures by peers and parents, and that is exactly what this book shows.
Cass battles throughout the book with wanting to do the right thing, but also wanting to maintain her reputation and appearance at school. Read the full review at The Daily Quirk!