Always Never Yours

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

This book is incredibly heartwarming. From the beginning you are drawn to the characters and become extremely invested in their happiness. I read this book in one sitting because I just couldn't bear to put it down without knowing if Megan would ever find her love.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this! I'm always up for a friends-to-romance story, and this one delivered nicely. One thing that really struck me was how self-confident and self-aware Megan was, yet she learned so much about herself and upended so many of her self-perceptions over the course of the book - just really great character development here. Also, I really appreciated the sex-positive attitudes, and finally Owen was adorable!
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I appreciated the diverse characters in the story and the different family dynamics. Navigating life as an early adult is difficult and this story didn’t downplay that at all.
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Drama always happens in high school, but especially in drama class.  Putting together the play Romeo and Juliet is very complicated, especially learning your lines while focusing on your love life or lack of one. Megan has these troubles. She had so much going on in her life, but her best friend Madeleine helps through all.  This was a great book filled with very interesting characters. Thoroughly enjoyed this book!  I highly recommend this book!
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Originally posted on https://thefandom.net/ :

The family dynamics were super complex, as Megan’s family is incredibly torn apart. Always Never Yours takes an overused trope and turns it around flawlessly to create this amazing relationship. Interestingly, it’s not amazing in a loving way; Megan is struggling greatly with the fact that her parents are divorced and might just be leaving her behind with their newfound families. It is amazing because it is raw and real in ways I couldn’t be able to explain properly, and really shows Megan’s emotions about everything going on with her mom and dad.

If you’re not into slow-burn romance, consider anything and everything before picking this up. If I went on and on about how I felt while reading Megan and Owen’s romance, it would consist of a LOT of incoherent blabbering. I swooned, laughed, chuckled, giggled, rolled my eyes, and cried. It was one hell of a rollercoaster ride I wouldn’t mind getting on time and time again. I’m still speechless over how cute they were.

I couldn’t possibly tell you if this is plot-driven or character-driven. I wholeheartedly believe this novel is both. As minimal as some of the friendships were sometimes, they all had a purpose and everyone had a meaningful presence. The little page/screen time they got really makes you get to know their bright and unique personalities. I’m not into Shakespeare, I’ve never been into Shakespeare, and probably never will be. But as someone who hasn’t even read any of his plays, you can notice the heavy influences his work provides and it works greatly. The plot is heavily inspired by Romeo and Juliet, which paths the way for one of the most thrilling plotlines a YA contemporary has ever offered.

Always Never Yours is a co-authored book, so I had my doubts about whether the writing was going to be good and smooth. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. If I hadn’t known this book was by a duo beforehand, I probably would’ve never known. Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka‘s voices mesh so well together, I’m telling you, it left me dumbfounded. They wove their voices so nicely together, it became one, and I can safely say I’m in love.

One of the most pleasant surprises i got form this book was the diversity. The love interest, Owen, is Japanese-American. Anthony, Megan’s best friend, is biracial, having black and Mexican parents, and he’s gay. And there are several other Asian side characters thrown around. It is not diversity I can personally speak for, but some I really appreciate.

With sex-positive characters, heart-aching family dynamics, tons of Shakespeare references, a pizzeria legitimately based on Verona, and a romance to die for, Always Never Yours is a solid debut novel I can’t wait for  other people to read. It definitely became one of my favorite books of the year, and quite possibly, of all time.
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Could not put this book down!  The theater setting was realistic, as were all the struggles of the main character. I particularly loved watching her grow to see herself in a different light--that was more appealing than any romance.
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This book was really cute. It was a great story about self-fulfilling prophecies and overcoming self-doubt. I thought the main characters were really sweet and the Shakespearean atmosphere was really fun. I especially loved the emphasis that it was totally okay for a girl to be flirty and fun without being defined as skanky, or worse. Megan was respected by her classmates for her work in the theater and the boys seemed to be more intimidated by her flirtatiousness than trying to take advantage of it. I'd definitely recommend this to YA contemporary romance lovers.
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Always Never Yours is funny and sweet. Megan is a positive, sarcastic and adorable character.  I thought this story was well written and has the friendships, family and romantic buildup that a reader would expect from this genre. A very good YA Contemporary Romance!
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"I know what it's like to watch the people you care about replace you and never look back. I've gone through it eight times now."

To be frank, I bought this book only because it was written by a real-life couple. The idea of creating a novel with a loved one appealed to the romantic in me, and I wanted to see how two intimate people could integrate their unique voices into a single point of view. Since co-authored, YA contemporaries are typically he-said-she-said in nature, this one is a black sheep, but not in a bad way.

Gleaning upon the title, Always Never Yours is about Megan Harper, a girl who is always dumped by guys whom she thinks are hers for the taking. Strangely, every guy who breaks up with her sooner or later finds his "true love". Thus, Meagan believes that she is cursed or fated to be replaceable, a mere stepping stone for her beaus. This debilitating misconception continues to dominate Megan's life until it is challenged by Owen Okita, one of her fellow actors in their school's production of Romeo and Juliet.

It was actually my first time to read a YA book with such a "boy-hungry" protagonist. One of the issues tackled in Always Never Yours was slut shaming or the discrimination of girls who enjoy their sexuality to the fullest. I personally admire "demurely empowered" girls. Thus, though I acknowledge the consequences of slut shaming, I cannot say that I'm a fan of sexually active people. I'd rather have one meaningful romance in my lifetime than several fleeting ones. This is just my opinion, so you don't have to be affronted.

But I digress. In light of my convictions, I struggled to feel neutral about Megan. The way she flirted was indeed funny and witty. But sometimes, I really wanted her to stop evoking the lust of Owen and her other male peers. Furthermore, I was annoyed by Megan's penchant for self-deprecation. Whenever something bad happened, she made matters more complicated by jadedly blaming herself, saying that she shouldn't have expected anything good to come out of this or that.

To be fair, credit must be given to Megan's receptivity to rebuke or advice. In this regard, her low self-esteem was pretty helpful. It made her more willing to apologize and learn from her mistakes. If Megan had disregarded the counsel of her family and friends, she wouldn't have attained her happily ever after. All in all, Megan was not as mature as she was sexually empowered. Still, she did have some good moments in the book.

Another important topic explored in Always Never Yours was the blended family. One of the conflicts in the book stemmed from Megan's fear of being out of place in her own family. Megan's parents were divorced, but they eventually mustered the strength to build new families. Thus, Megan was stuck in between and didn't know where she really belonged. Despite its melancholic gravity, I was very intrigued by the family drama in this book because it made me fondly think of my grandmother. This is going to sound like an inside joke, but my lola has a lot to say about blended families. She raised her grandchild for a decade, and the latter now lives with her father and stepmother. Let's leave it at that before this review becomes too personal. xD

As a final note, I would like to discuss how this book reminded me of Anna and the French Kiss, which is controversial because of the glorified or sugarcoated cheating. Just like Anna and Etienne, Megan and Owen "made progress" at the expense of a current girlfriend who ended up being a mere plot device. The current/ex-girlfriend had no character development whatsoever. It was simply said that she was Cosima, an Italian whom Owen had met at some theater camp. Logically, Megan didn't feel guilty about breaking Owen and Cosima's long-distance relationship since it was supposedly "shallow". Really, should I explain or justify my indignation? My fondness for Owen's racial diversity and nerdy personality was nearly eclipsed by my dislike for his questionable morals.

With all that said, I gave Always Never Yours 2.5 stars. I was delightfully surprised by the cohesive writing of the authors, and I appreciated that they made an effort to discuss important topics like slut shaming and blended families. Unfortunately, I wasn't completely pleased by the character arcs of Megan and Owen. In the end, this book will stay on my bookshelf just because it can inspire me to write a novel with a special someone someday.
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I liked the idea of this but the writing was flat, but I struggled with Megan  as a character, she came off as very shallow. Owen was a welcome arrival and I liked Anthony even though he felt more like a stereotype of the black gay best friend trope I've seen in a lot of YA lately. 2.5 Stars
eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley
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I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I really loved this book!  It was very reminiscent  of my own teenage days (with a few modern friendship tweaks).  I found Megan extremely relatable and wonderfully real.  Vividly portrayed emotions color this entire novel.  I would axniously await another chance to read Emily Wibberly!!!
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This is really a 4.5 stars for me. The only knock to it is that I couldn't quite see this happening in real life. Then again, Drama club was never a thing at my high school. I love the characters and found that even the secondary ones were well rounded. I have a feeling that I will be picking up everything by Wibberley. I will be recommending that this is purchased for my Young Adult collection.
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Always Never Yours Review 

As an adult woman who reads YA, most is the time I can sink into the characters and the story without issue. And then, some books remind me—painfully—that I’m not a teenager. For better or worse, Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka’s Almost Never Yours was one that I could not like. 

My main issue was the narrator, Megen, herself. Her voice and entire character were, for the first 2/3rds of the book, mind numbingly immature and self-centered. Maybe a contemporary of hers would be better able to relate...but I couldn’t. I get that the book needed a flawed narrator to make the character growth aspect work, but...nope. The decisions she made I just couldn’t connect with. 

I will say, I did like the authors’ writing itself. As a Shakespeare nerd myself, I was pretty pumped for all the glorious references. And in that area, I wasn’t let down. The dialogue is snappy (let’s make Will Shakes proud, eh?), the emotional hook of the plot works for the most part, the setting is interesting and helps propel and give context to the plot. 

So the jury’s out for me. Will I likely buy a copy when it comes out? No. Will I recommend it to students? Probably. If I see it on a shelf in a few years, will I pick it up? Maybe. 


I recieved my ebook copy of Almost Never Yours from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
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I devoured Always Never Yours in one sitting. The authors totally captured the insecurities and angst of teenagers. I must admit that I tired of Megan's boy craziness, but cheered for her growing up at the end! I enjoyed the Shakespearean quotes and references throughout.
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I'm not reading nearly as many YA books as I used to but when I came across this book, I was anxious to read it. This book is surrounded by the Romeo and Juliet play but it features a main character that is more Rosalind than Juliet.

Megan Harper has always been the girl that guys date before they find their meant-to-be partners. She's become a flirt, the girl that keeps things casual because of her status as the girl before but when she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring writer who teams up with her to write a play and hook her up with the guy she wants to hook up with.

I normally don't have any trouble jumping into a contemporary YA because things happen sort of fast in those books but for me, this book started off really slow and it was hard for me to connect with Megan. I didn't hate her or anything like that, I just didn't really care for her and what she was going through. It took me a little bit to warm up to Owen but once I did, I really warmed up to him. 

When Megan gets cast as Juliet in her school's production of Romeo & Juliet, Megan freaks out because she wants to be a director, not an actress. She was hoping for a small role to add to her college application and now, she's got to deal with the pressures of acting and acting alongside her ex-boyfriend who dumped her for her best friend. Sure, she's over the ex but not over how the ex made her feel when she dumped her for someone so close to her.

This story was a character driven story and because I wasn't that invested in Megan's character, the story moved slowly for me. I did end up enjoying the book but it took too long for me to care and that was a bummer. Megan is written to be that fun protagonist who has a rep of being the school slut, which I thought was pretty unfair but she didn't let that stop her from living her life and I liked that she was okay with the person that she was. She made no apologies and she was out there living her best life. My issues with her character was I wasn't that logged into what was going on. I didn't really care about the play, the secondary characters weren't fully fleshed out characters that I could get behind and the love interest, well it took a while for me to like him because I was low key bored throughout the first half of the book.

I did warm up to both Owen and Megan, more Owen than Meg and the book ended on a high note for me so overall, the story was decent but not a favorite of mine. I will be willing to try out more from this writing duo though.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5
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This was such a cute read with some darker topics addressed. I flew through this very quickly because I just wanted more. My only problem with it, and the reason I deducted a star is because there were some moments that seemed completely unrealistic for some of the relationships that a 17 year old would have. The shining star for me was the family drama plot because it felt authentic for a lot of teenagers around the world.
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Cute light YA story. It was fun, with good characters and an underlying very good amount of Shakespeare. YA fans and teen readers will enjoy this sweet read with a nice hea and no cliffhanger demanding a sequel.
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Heartfelt and emotionally captivating. Megan is the perfect leading lady in this thespian Shakespeare-inspired YA contemporary romance. 

"I'm not the girl in the center of the stage at the end of the love story, I'm the girl before, the girl guys date right before they find their true love."

All Megan wants is to direct and get into her dream college, SOTI, and all that stands in her way is a pesky acting credit. What she most definitely does not want is to play the lead in Romeo and Juliet; especially when your ex is Romeo and dating your bestfriend. 

Directing is the one thing Megan can count on when nothing else makes sense. When she feels like her father and mother are both starting new lives - the families they always wanted, while she feels left behind. When the school casts her as boy-crazy Megan that flits from relationship to relationship that always seem doomed to fail. She's the placeholder, the Rosalind instead of the Juliet. 

But being the Rosalind is way better than being Juliet, especially when you can find your own happily-ever-after guy who's much better than Romeo. 

"Being in the spotlight's not terrible, and it taught me that losing yourself in a character might lead you to find something new in yourself." 

Megan's story is poignant and beautiful. It's sure to both tug at your heart and make you smile. Plus Megan and Owen are absolutely adorable together.
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A light and fun beach read about a girl who, after every boy she dates, ends up being dumped after they find their soul mate. She is like the fairy godmother of her exes and now she wants her turn. I had a good time with this book.
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Originally posted on Forever Young Adult on May 21, 2018

 BOOK REPORT for Always Never Yours by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley

Cover Story: Boring Stock Photo Strikes Again
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factor: Theatre Kids
Bonus Factor: Shakespeare
Relationship Status: You Kiss By The Book

Cover Story: Boring Stock Photo Strikes Again

While the colors are nice and I *do* love a peony, this cover has stock photo written all over it. I mean, this is a theatre book about drama kids doing Romeo and Juliet, with a protagonist who dreams of becoming a director. That sentence alone held at least 20 cover ideas, but they went with Random Girl Holding Random Bouquet. Which if you REALLY sit and think about it for a minute could represent the bouquet that the cast gives the director at the end of a show, but whew boy, that is a stretch. So while the end result is cute enough, it loses points for lack of originality.

The Deal:

Megan Harper wants two things: 1) to get into the theatre school of her dreams to study directing and 2) a boyfriend. The problem with the first is that despite years of directing experience and a longing to stay behind the curtain, her dream school requires at least one acting credit on her resume. The problem with the second is that no matter how hard she tries, Megan is always the girl a guy dates just before he meets his One True Love. She's the Rosaline to everyone else's Juliet - not even the star of her own life. But when she auditions for her school's performance of Romeo and Juliet, hoping to land the smallest possible role and fulfill her acting requirement, she is inexplicably cast as Juliet. It's her worst nightmare - Megan is no actress, and everyone in the play knows it. Everyone except Owen Okita, the quiet playwright who is cast as Friar Lawrence. He and Megan strike a deal - he'll help her catch the eye of his friend and stagehand, Will, if she will lend her life experience to him while he writes a play about Rosaline. Then maybe, finally, Megan will get to be the star of her own love story.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Megan felt really different from so many of the protagonists who have come before her. I loved her passion for directing, and creating something magical on stage without needing to be the star of the show. She truly understood the way theatre works, not just the twinkle of the stage lights, but the nitty gritty, chaotic, behind-the-scenes stuff too. Megan is also bold, funny and an unapologetic flirt. She's boy-crazy and she knows it, always on the hunt for her next victim. This, too, felt new and refreshing, especially because it wasn't depicted as a negative thing. When Megan sees a cute boy, she raises a coy eyebrow, makes a suggestive remark, grins, and BAM - she's reeling them in, even if she doesn't get to keep them forever.

All this is well and good, and totally BFF-charm worthy, but Megan's need to immediately feel as close as possible (and yes, I mean, close) to boys is the reason she's getting big sistered. Megan, listen to your girl Rosemary! You are a dope ass girl, and it's cool as hell that you know what you want and aren't afraid to go after it. But sometimes, baby girl, you just gotta chillax. Slow down. Enjoy Megan for awhile. Don't rush through these experiences because you're afraid that if you don't hustle you'll lose your opportunity.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Listen, I'm not gonna pretend like y'all don't know what's up. This book is a rom-com and despite Megan's infatuation with Will (who Owen geniusly refers to as "new-hot", like new-money, because Will doesn't yet understand the etiquette that's required with hotness), you KNOW that Owen is where it's at. He's sweet, he's pensive, he thinks the world of Megan, and he's a playwright and she is a director. It's meant to be! Except that Owen has a girlfriend and Megan's sort of dating Will. But as the story progresses and Megan and Owen find it harder and harder to deny their meant-to-be-ness, well, the temps slowly rise until we get some seriously hot scenes. ::fans face::

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka deliver a contemporary romantic comedy with wit, heart, and spot-on pacing. I gobbled this up in 48 hours. Is it revolutionary? No. But it is well done. And it's exactly the type of book I long for when I need a breather between long trilogies or books with heavier subject matter.

Bonus Factor: Theatre Kids

Fun fact about me: my mom was a high school theatre teacher, so as a kid, I grew up in the wings at all her play rehearsals. I was automatically cast as the kid in every play that required a small child, starting at the ripe old age of 18 months (Mildred, sister of Helen Keller, in 1986's The Miracle Worker), and I have a working knowledge of technical direction and know all the words to every song from just about every musical (not by choice). By the time I'd reached high school, I was mostly uninterested in theatre because I'd been around it my whole life, but books about theatre kids will always make me nostalgic nonetheless!

Bonus Factor: Shakespeare

Who doesn't love a good Shakespeare retelling? Well, sort of a retelling, since Rosaline didn't even appear on stage in Romeo and Juliet. It's high time the jilted lover gets her own story!

Relationship Status: You Kiss By The Book

In Always Never Yours, Megan wonders whether Juliet telling Romeo "You kiss by the book" is a compliment or a burn. I'm not sure what the answer is, but Book, you kiss by the, well...book. You are well-studied in the art of YA contemporary rom-com, and gave me all the sweetness and swoon my heart desired. But you weren't exactly breaking all the rules to give me something totally new and revolutionary. Which is totally fine! Sometimes, the familiar is exactly what I'm longing for.

Literary Matchmaking:

  

• If you want to read another book that reimagines Romeo and Juliet from Rosaline's side of the story, give When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle a try.

• If you love books about theatre kids, check out Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

• Or try Emma Mills' Foolish Hearts for another story about a high school production of Shakespeare.

FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the lame cranberry ones) for writing this review. Always Never Yours will be available May 22, 2018.
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