Book review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

Always Never Yours was easily one of my most-anticipated debuts of 2018. As soon as I first saw the cover and synopsis (in a Twitter thread, of all places) I knew that I had to read it. The thing is, I kind of struggled to read this book, and I’m really sad about that.

The first third of the book is just… so… boring. It’s just Megan running around trying to find a boyfriend, which is fine but I felt like it was a little overdone. I mean, she’s hopping from one crush to the next and I appreciated that the authors never tried to condemn her for being unabashedly flirty and boy-crazy, but I was so bored. Then the play starts up and it gets marginally more interesting, but it’s so clear that Megan’s after the wrong boy that, again, it’s just boring. We’re just sitting there waiting for her to catch up. I mean, come on, now we’re like fifty percent in and everything that’s happened so far is in the synopsis. I hate it when that happens.

The second half of the book is better. I felt like the pacing improved and, let’s be honest, despite my problems with how the romance developed, Owen was pretty cute. (But, again, all of this is in the synopsis, so what’s even the point of reading this book?) I liked how Megan started taking control of her own life and I liked the exploration of her family dynamics. But, all in all, did I like this book? Not really.

I also want to mention (and thanks to Becky for the warning going in!) that this book features a lot of cheating. Like, so much cheating. I’m not sure I’ve read a book (certainly not a YA romance) that features quite this much cheating. Everybody is cheating on everybody and it’s exhausting. And it’s hardly even addressed! I was really disappointed by that.

I guess, in the end, I’d recommend this book if you were a theater kid and you want a nostalgic look back at those days. I don’t know that I’d necessarily recommend it as a romance, but you could certainly do worse if you’re looking for a quick summer read.

(I also totally missed the fact that Emily Wibberley attended Princeton University while I was living down the street from the campus, so for all I know, we could’ve been neighbors.)

Have you read Always Never Yours? Does cheating in books drive you crazy?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d slay a lion to get early

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today we’re talking about those books that we would love to get early (and might do anything to get). I’ve actually had to revise this list a couple times since I’ve received some ARCs that I never thought I would get!

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee! I loved The Gentleman’s Guide and cannot wait for its follow-up. Felicity was a great character and I’m so excited to read about her adventures.

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of The Big F, Maggie’s debut. It was an amazing book and I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for her sophomore novel.

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera! It’s no secret that I’m a huge Becky Albertalli fangirl, but the cover of this book has actually slayed me. I want to frame it and put it on my wall.

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer! I don’t know how I ever got lucky enough to get an ARC of Renegades but it was one of the highlights of my blogging life in 2017. I have to know what happens next!

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab! I actually got an ARC of A Darker Shade of Magic back in the day and I’ve been a big fan of Schwab’s ever since. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for Vengeful, so I am open to just about anything to shorten the wait!

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab! Yep, it’s another Schwab book. I follow her on Twitter and every sentence she shares from a new book makes me want to read it even more. Who even knows how long we’ll have to wait for this book. I need it now!

I’ve been meaning to read more Kasie West since I’ve really enjoyed what little I’ve read from her so far, but I’ve just never gotten around to it. Still, Listen To Your Heart has an adorable cover and I love the vibe of her books.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson! I haven’t yet read all of Morgan Matson’s work, but what I have read, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. I’m thinking it’s pretty doubtful that I’d ever be approved for an ARC of a book this hyped, but hey, I can dream.

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka! I was over on Twitter one day and there was a thread where debut authors could talk about their books. The way that these authors were talking about this book made me hop over to Edelweiss and immediately request it. I never have any luck on Edelweiss so I’m just over here waiting for this book to finally come out.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne! I loved The Hating Game and Sally Thorne quickly became one of my must-buy authors. Twitter’s about to show up for the third time on this short list… Honestly, Sally has been killing me with her vague tweets about this book! It sounds so amazing! Please, save me from my misery and give me this book asap.

Books that originally appeared on this list that I actually got advance copies of are: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie, Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett, The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, and Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff.

Debut Author Challenge Check-In

As of today, March 29, 2018, I have read three books that count toward this year’s Debut Author Challenge. I hope to read at least nine more before the year is done! One thing that’s really helped me is that the Uppercase Box has been sending YA debuts. I’ve also gotten a bunch of Netgalley approvals, which always helps. The library, in this case, hasn’t actually been that helpful since they’re usually a few months behind on debuts. I also did some pre-orders, but that doesn’t help me yet!

Read so far:

  • I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter
  • A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
  • Frat Girl by Kiley Roache

Not yet read, but next up:

  • Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
  • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
  • The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
  • Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Hoping to read:

  • Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
  • You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
  • Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
  • People Like Us by Dana Mele
  • The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Have you read any debuts this year? What’s been your favorite so far?