Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always
By: Elissa Janine Hoole
Release Date: November 8th, 2013
Thank you Flux and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Short Summary:
An atheist in a family of fundamentalists goes against her family to find herself.
The Summary (via Goodreads):
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?
Usually books about finding one’s own self do not interest me. They’re pretty much the same and are overdone with cliche’s. There’s rebellion, angst and a lot of other predictable stuff. But Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always (SNSA from hereon) isn’t just a finding yourself story. Apart from that, it focuses on some pretty serious issues like bullying and gay tolerance. And even though these issues weave into the plot seamlessly, the book isn’t depressive, dark, or hard to read.
Tarot cards, if done in jest, are harmless. I mean, what can a couple of wacky pictures on cards do to you? But since fortune-telling is said to be a branch of sorcery, tarot readings are highly discouraged by religious sects. So when Cassandra, our protagonist, decides to start a tarot blog, anonymously, the reactions from the community are extreme.
Top that up with a girl from her youth group, who isn’t exactly the person people want to hang out with, trying to be friends with Cass. And her brother is gay, threatened by some intolerant school bullies. Social dilemmas galore. Oh and there’s this one poetry assignment that just won’t come together.
Teenage life is a roller coaster ride, one that has a million twists and turns, has occasional attacks of streaming water and chooses to let you hang upside down for a little while. Elissa Janine Hoole has been quite successful in showing that kind of a life.
There’s a little romance too, just a little, but it’s cute.
The Final Words:
I liked this book but I didn’t love it. Maybe it was because there was a lot of religion involved. But the characters are quite well developed and the pacing was good too. So if you don’t mind a bit of religion in books, go ahead and grab this one.