Always Never Yours, by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
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Release Date: May 22, 2018
Length: 352 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: Was this…was this written…about me?
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?
What I Liked: I suspected I would like this book. Was not disappointed.
♥ The Girl Before. I related so hard to Megan. She’s the girl before, as in all of her boyfriends fall in love with the next girl they date. I was just a different version of the girl before. I was the girl before you got back together with your ex. It happened so often that, like Megan, I came to expect it. Unlike Megan, I was always REALLY SURE that this time would be different. Megan believes it won’t be. For Megan, every boyfriend will always leave her for the love of his life. Perhaps the worst example of all time is that one of her first boyfriends, Tyler, left her for her best friend, Madeline. Tyler is a real asshat so it’s no big loss, but it always sucks to be dumped.
♥ Owning Your Sexuality. In other books, Megan would be cast as the school slut. She’s had a lot of boyfriends, often one right after another, and isn’t shy about flirting. But the authors are careful to never refer to her this way. Megan simply owns her flirting, owns her boy-craziness, owns her sexuality. And it’s really refreshing to see. A few boys say something about how she always has boyfriends, but they all apologize pretty quickly. And the only girl-on-girl hate is from Megan herself, which is shut down IMMEDIATELY by the girl she says it to. No one was letting slut-shaming be part of the narrative here, and I. LOVED. IT.
♥ Owen Okita. Heart eyes for days about this guy. He’s super sweet, good looking and fit, and a great older brother who takes a lot of responsibility for his brother. When he and Megan become friends, he’s a great friend to her. He’s always ready to step in if someone says something impolite to her, and he’s really kind and generous. He wants to help Megan recognize that she matters, that her worth is more than just being the girl before. Even when they’re in a fight, he itches to be there for her. Their friendship turns into a slow-burn romance, and it’s really swoony and sexy. Their flirting is top-notch, especially because we never expect it from Owen. But more than that, we watch as these two characters who start out barely knowing each other become the person they know best in the world. It’s the best kind of friends-to-more, because they aren’t already friends when the story opens. We truly get to see the start of it all.
♥ Behind The Scenes Of The Play. I was a musical theater kid myself (Stage Crew 4-Life, whatup Stage Right?), so I love reading about other kids going through it. And it was super refreshing to read about someone who wanted to be behind the scenes as a director, rather than an actress. Being on the crew of a high school stage production gets no recognition, but that’s great for us introverts who don’t want the spotlight. I really liked reading about Megan’s directing style, about the guys building the sets, about the stage crew setting up scenes. Major nostalgia points here that really worked for me.
♥ The Forced Acting. More nostalgia here. I was in two different honors English classes in high school that required acting, even if it was only in class. Like I said, I’m a major introvert who doesn’t like to be the center of attention, so this was horrible for me. BUT, as an adult, I can now see the value in it. It pushes you in directions that you don’t necessarily want to go, it makes you do something scary, but in the end you get through it. Especially for Megan, who wants to be a director. It’s important for her to experience all parts of a production, because there’s no better way to understand than by experience. And Megan really begins to identify with Juliet, to learn about herself, and to build confidence through her forced acting experience as Juliet.
♥ The Texting. I HATED Megan’s misspelled, abbreviated text messages. They hurt my eyeballs. And more importantly, they’re not realistic. NO ONE texts like that anymore. But I LOVED Owen constantly ragging on her about it. Instead of it being an attempt by the writers to sound young and hip, it became an intentional joke that we could all get behind.
What I Didn’t:
⊗ Shakespeare. Okay but why all the Shakespeare lately. I feel like every book I’ve read that came out recently has a Shakespeare performance involved. Am I the only one who never liked the guy? I have a hard time relating to kids who just love him and know all of his work, and have no issues understanding the old-timey language. I mean, can a girl get a YA novel about The Music Man or 42nd Street instead?
⊗ The Not Believing In Yourself. I get it, I do. We all have times that we don’t have faith in ourselves and our abilities, but Megan takes it to a new level with how she views herself in relationships. She can’t accept that any relationship might end differently, so all of her breakups become a self-fulfilling prophecy. BUT that means that there’s great opportunity here for self-growth, and the authors make good use of it.
⊗ The Family Drama. Megan’s belief that people can take her or leave her bleeds over into her family life, as well. Even when it’s clear to us that she has parents and step-parents that really love her, she still feels like it wouldn’t matter if she was gone. It made for a nice and resolved ending, but it bummed me out that her family didn’t notice how she was really feeling until then.
Favorite Quotes:“He looks like he wants to follow me, right up until he sits back down.”