Book review: Always Never Yours
Book reviews

Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Release date: 22 May 2018
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4 stars

Always Never Yours blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Megan Harper is about due for her next sweeping romance. It’s inevitable—each of her relationships starts with the perfect guy and ends with him falling in love . . . with someone else. But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Megan focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream college’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.
So when she’s cast as Juliet (yes, that Juliet) in her high school’s production, it’s a complete nightmare. Megan’s not an actress, and she’s used to being upstaged—both in and out of the theatre. In fact, with her mom off in Texas and her dad remarried and on to baby #2 with his new wife, Megan worries that, just like her exes, her family is moving on without her.
Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright inspired by Rosaline from Shakespeare’s R+J. A character who, like Megan, knows a thing or two about short-lived relationships. Megan agrees to help Owen with his play in exchange for help catching the eye of a sexy stagehand/potential new boyfriend. Yet Megan finds herself growing closer to Owen, and wonders if he could be the Romeo she never expected.

You know those books where you know exactly what’s going to happen before you go in (there might be a couple of small surprises), but it’s a warm, comfortable space, and you know that you’ll enjoy it. And then you read it, and it’s great and everything you wanted it to be? That’s Always Never Yours.
The debut novel for cute couple, Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, Always Never Yours is a modern take the usual boy and girl high school romance trope. I didn’t think it was a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but I’ve heard that said about it. I think there are just parallels drawn by the MC as the students are performing the play. (There’s certainly no warring families or fights between friend groups or suicide pacts.)
So, the story starts off with our MC, Megan Harper, an aspiring director who lives in a Shakespeare obsessed town. Megan is a senior and has applied for her dream school. The school, however, requires all directing students to have undertaken one acting credit in order to qualify. So Megan signs up for the seniors play and auditions for the role of Lady Capulet, and in a surprising twist, lands the lead of Juliet. This is where the disaster ensues, as playing opposite Megan in the role of Romeo, is her ex-boyfriend Tyler.
However, Megan has a trick that is like the movie, Good Luck Chuck, in that every guy she has dated, has always fallen magically in love with someone else. And to this day, they have remained together. Obviously this includes Tyler, who is now dating Megan’s BFF. And according to Megan, they’re perfect for each other. To let said BFF know that she’s not interested in getting back together with Tyler, Megan ends up throwing herself at another guy. But to get his attention, she needs the help of Owen. Who in turn, wants Megan’s help in understanding the role of Rosalind: the most famous jilted girlfriend the world has never met.
One of the things that I did really like about Megan was that she was pretty secure in her sexuality. And I don’t mean her sexual orientation, I mean how she sees a boy she likes and will go and flirt with him. That she’s had a couple of boyfriends. But while she may think that defines her, her confidence is what really shines through. However, the fact that most of her exes all go to the one school that she attends and they pretty much all have parts in this tale, make Megan come across as a bit ‘boy-crazy’. I felt like this detracted from the plot a little bit as it made it sound like Megan couldn’t just be friends with a guy – except of course with Owen, as she was using him as her wingman. (But let’s be honest, we all know exactly where this is going, otherwise he wouldn’t be a focus of the blurb…)
Other things I liked about the storyline were the pieces where the teens start calling each other out on their behaviours. They learn valuable life lessons that all people should know – to value your own worth. That you don’t have to just accept something because your friend says it. That sometimes valuing your own self means that people can’t walk all over you.
I felt like the characters were interesting enough to stand their own ground. Firstly you’ve got Megan who thinks she’s super confident, but lets people walk all over her, prefering to be on the sidelines. Then there’s Owen who kind of is on the sidelines, but is totally happy there in his own space. Megan has some challenging scenes with her father that I really liked as well. (It’s so nice to see loving, caring parents!!) And the end parts where she faces up to her teacher as well are great for her to prove she is growing.
All in all, I really liked this one, and it’s probably a story that I’ll read again. Who knows, I might even like is better the second time around. (Also, the cover is gorgeous!!)
Until next time, happy reading ??


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