Happy Sunday! Can you believe that it’s the second to last week of SBPT? 😱 Stephanie and I decided to buddy read Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley this week, and today’s post features our Q&A style review with all our thoughts on this YA Contemporary.
Spoiler-Free Summary: 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?
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how fluffy would you rate this book?
Tiffany: 8.5! This book was filled with the most adorable marshmallow-y fluff, reconfirming my love for contemporaries. Megan and Owen have the cutest friendship that slowly evolves into romantic feelings–every one of their interactions made my heart happy.
Stephanie: A solid 7. It was definitely on the cuter/fluffy end but it didn’t have that extra mushy-ness, in my opinion, to make the score any higher.
2. Describe your feelings about this book in 3 GIFs.
3. What did you think of the romance in this book? Did the romance between Megan and Owen seem realistic? Did you root for them at all?
Tiffany: I honestly really loved the romance between Megan and Owen. 💕 While the idea that all of Megan’s exes found their perfect love after dating her is pretty unrealistic, I thought it was such a unique idea for a storyline. I really enjoyed seeing Megan and Owen start off as almost strangers who became friends who developed feelings for one another. (Thank goodness no insta-love! If you’re a fan of a slow-burning romance, this book is for you 😉 ) It was also really funny that Owen was basically acting Megan’s wingman for romance, too. The romances between the side characters were also enjoyable to watch because they were all so different and showed the varying sides to a relationship.
Stephanie: I thought that the romances in the book were a bit unrealistic especially with Megan and her assumption that her exes all found that “perfect girlfriend” or “true love”. Maybe because I’m not a teenager anymore but the idea of all of these high schoolers finding their “true love” is a tad unrealistic especially since Megan dated a LOT. There was one romance in particular that I wasn’t particularly fond of: Tyler and Madeleine. It seemed way too perfect to even be realistic. ✨
However, I did thoroughly enjoy the romance between Megan and Owen. Their relationship, for me, seemed much more genuine and I loved how their dynamic changed from the beginning of the book to the end. They started off getting to know each other as friends and after knowing more about each other, the romance started to sizzle. I thought that worked really well and definitely rooted for them throughout the book.
4. Do you relate with Megan, the main character, at all? If so, how did you relate with her? And if not, why not?
Tiffany: I genuinely think that there are different parts of Megan that everyone can relate to–she’s ambitious, funny, and loyal. She has her head in the clouds, but she’s also very grounded and understanding. She has an intense desire to succeed as a director and get into her dream college which was very similar to my mentality about college during high school. Like Megan, I also have a few close friends but love being friendly with everyone around me.
While I don’t approach relationships the same way as her, I can definitely relate to her mentality of thinking that she’s unable to find true love while everyone else can. I also do tend to act as the relationship counselor for my friends but more of a communicator than a cupid. 😅
Stephanie: There were definitely aspects of Megan that I related to. I was able to relate really well with her work ethics – she was always so on top of things that are related to theater and her being a director. However, there was one thing in particular that I related best with her and that was her attitude towards relationships specifically on how she believes that true love is out of reach for her while the people around her seemed to gain it with little effort. It’s especially true for me since a lot of my friends are getting married or in long-term relationships so I can certainly share her feelings.
However, there were also a lot of aspects of her that I couldn’t relate to whatsoever. Even though she was loyal to her friends, she also tended to meddle with their personal relationships a little too much. That’s not something I would ever do because I believe my friends are mature enough to know wha t they’re doing and while I can provide advice to certain things, I would never insert myself in their relationships like she did. There are a few more characteristics that I couldn’t relate to but no spoilers!
5. What did you think of the family dynamics in this book?
Tiffany: I’m honestly blown away by how many different facets this book was able to delve into because the family dynamics in this book were as fleshed out as the other relationships. I definitely agree with Stephanie in that it plays more of a background role until the later half of the book. Still, I really appreciated seeing Megan’s family situation and how it affected her own character and everyday mentality. ✨
Stephanie: This ended up playing a much more major role towards the end because it connected with a lot of Megan’s mentality and her own personal outlook. I wish that the family dynamic was much more obvious in the beginning and how it impacted Megan because for me, it played a relatively background role until the latter half of the book. I did appreciate the connection that the authors later made with how a child’s relationship with their parents can cause a serious impact on their everyday life. It really stressed the importance of family which is something I can definitely get behind.
6. Final Star Rating?
Tiffany: 5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stephanie: 3.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐
1. As a teenager yourself, this book was a lot cuter for you than for me. Would you recommend this book to readers more closely around your age or for all ages? Do you think an older reader (like myself) would be as invested in the romance and in the book?
While I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, I definitely think that it is more appealing and relatable for younger readers around my age (19). 💖 Since the book is set in high school, it’s probably more entertaining for those who are around their high school years, but I still think it’s a fun read for everyone because the varying relationships explored is something we can all understand.
2. Since this book was heavily focused on theater, specifically with Romeo and Juliet, do you think it helped with your own thoughts about theater and Shakespeare? Did the book allow you to fall in love with Shakespeare a little more or at least, appreciate it a little more?
I definitely think so! 😊 I wasn’t the biggest theater fan throughout high school–I didn’t love reading Shakespeare but I didn’t hate it either. This book gave me a greater appreciation for his plays and characters, especially Romeo and Juliet and even some of the side characters in the play! 😉 *cough cough Rosaline*
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