Title: Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always
Author: Elissa Janine Hoole
Publication Date: November 8, 2013
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for a honest review.
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?
am not a contemporary reader. I'm always happier when there are witches
and/or wizards and/or werewolves and/or elves and/or dragons and/or
whatever other magical creatures you can think. So it's not very often
that I read a book that's set 100% in the real world.
said, Sometime Never, Sometimes Always marks my tiptoeing into the world
do YA contempories (I think this is my second one ever). And I actually
quite enjoyed it! Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always touches on a couple
themes that hit fairly close to hope: morals and bullying.
was a character I could definitely connect with. I think anyone who has
ever disagreed with their parents' views (really, who hasn't?) could
empathize with Cass's predicament. Cass is an atheist growing up in a
deeply religious family. When a child becomes autonomous from their
parents and begins to develop their own views on life, it can be a very
interesting time and I enjoyed reading about this aspect of Cass's life,
even though it was difficult for her. And as a note, religion obviously
plays a bit of a role in this book, but it's not preachy at all because
our narrator is a quietly rebelling atheist.
The other major
theme here is bullying, both face-to-face and cyber-bullying. Bullying
is an issue that is near and dear to me, so I'm always happy to see it
addressed in YA books. And it was great to have aspects of
cyber-bullying addressed as well. However, I was a little annoyed with
how much Cass blamed herself for what happened, as their were other
characters who played much bigger parts. That said, I probably would
have felt the same was in Cass's position.
But don't worry, this
book isn't all doom and gloom. There's a very sweet boy in the picture!
Darin is pretty much everything I like in a YA love interest, so I was
always smiling whenever he showed up! I also really liked that there
were some significant sibling interactions, which I find are lacking in
many YA books.
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always is a interesting
YA contemporary that touches on a variety of issues, including
religious, finding yourself, sexuality, friendship and bullying. It was a
contemporary win for this fantasy reader!
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