ARC Book Review: Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always CoverBook: Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole

Expected Publication Is November 8, 2013 by Flux|Expected Number Of Pages: 363

Where I Got It: an ARC from this hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always on goodreads|You can find Elissa Janine Hoole on Twitter, Facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: Cassandra fears rocking the family boat. Instead, she sinks it. Assigned by her English teacher to write a poem that reveals her true self, Cassandra Randall is stuck. Her family’s religion is so overbearing, she can NEVER write about who she truly is. So Cass does what any self-respecting high school girl would do: she secretly begins writing a tarot-inspired advice blog. When Drew Godfrey, an awkward outcast with unwashed hair, writes to her, the situation spirals into what the school calls “a cyberbullying crisis” and what the church calls “sorcery.” Cass wants to be the kind of person who sticks up for the persecuted, who protects the victims the way she tries to protect her brother from the homophobes in her church. But what if she’s just another bully? What will it take for her to step up and tell the truth?

I am definitely intrigued with Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always, and I found Cassandra fairly easy to relate to.  In the sense that it was hard for her to be herself and speak up.  I also liked that she struggled with her English assignment because she wasn’t sure who she was and because she was scared to share the pieces of her that she was scared to share with other people.

There are a lot of issues in Sometimes Never, and there were times when I felt like there were too many issues going on.  It does come together (mostly) in the form of cyber-bullying, and you get a pretty good idea of what it’s like for everyone involved, especially for Cass and Drew.

I do wish we got more of the belief’s of Cass’ church, and what they believe.  You get a pretty good idea, but it would have been nice to see more of a contrast of Cass’ atheism and the beliefs of her church.  Also, we the get basics on why her family joined this church, but it’s another thing I wish we got more of, because it’s another thing that would have contrasted well with Cass’ beliefs.  Still, Sometimes Never isn’t preachy, and there the balance between Cass and her parents was pretty well done- even though it needed a little extra something. At least, it did for me.

It was pretty easy to see how Cass got herself into a little bit of trouble, and while she knew what the right thing was, it was also to easy to see why/how she got into the trouble she did.  And I know she never imagined the trouble her blog could cause, I also totally get why she needed to have place where she could have a different identity.  What started out as an innocent act of rebellion went so horribly wrong, and Poole did a great job with showing the impact cyber-bullying has on both the victim and the by-standers.

Sometimes Never is definitely about her journey, and it’s definitely predictable, but I did like seeing Cass change over the course of the novel.  I liked seeing how she was scared to be herself to sharing pieces of her life with her family, even though they aren’t accepting of what she has to say.

Cass was irritating at times, especially because she acted however people expected her act.  While I totally understand that, and while it didn’t bother me for the most part, it was a little trying at times.

Final Thoughts:

I liked Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always, and it’s a good look at a teen who starts a blog as a relatively innocent act of rebellion that later gets out of control.  There are a lot of issues in Sometimes Never, and I wish the book had focused on a few of them, because the number of issues that pop up are overwhelming.  Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always gets 3 stars.

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