I Never by Laura Hopper

Oh, another Monday, another eight million degree day in California. But today is different because it also brings whipping winds and the kind of heat that makes it hard to breathe! Hooray! I needed a fun book today, and that would be I Never.


Title: I Never {288 pgs.}

Genre: YA Fiction

Publication Date: November 7, 2017


Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

This book was cute in the way that makes old people like me think about their high school years and thank whoever that those years are over. The description compares it to Judy Blume’s Forever, and I think that’s the best comparison.

Janey’s whole life is turned upside down by her parents getting a divorce and her father moving out. But it’s not like she starts skipping down some path of self-destruction or anything. There’s a lot of crying, a lot of wondering what’s going to happen to her life now, but she doesn’t let the divorce become a stormcloud over her life. But it’s always there, and it’s always reminding her that the life that she knew before is no more.

But she has Luke Hallstrom to keep her busy.

Watching Luke and Janey fall in love is sweet and slow, just like a first love should be. They discover each other and themselves while trying to navigate high school life. Luke loves Janey just for herself, and while she may find this difficult to believe, she tries hard to accept it, because she loves Luke, too. Because, you know, Luke is handsome and popular, and Janey doesn’t understand what he sees in her. If this makes you roll your eyes like it did me, just wait. There’s an actual reason as to why she think this way, I believe. She’s not a girl who wears glasses, obscuring the gorgeousness that we know is there if she would just take off her glasses. She’s not a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She’s none of those stereotypical girls who are always surprised when the popular jock falls in love with her. Nope, I’m pointing the accusatory finger at Janey’s best friend Brett.

To put it mildly, Brett is a jerk. I honestly have no idea why Janey is friends with him. She tells him about Luke being interested in her, and he warns her that Luke is just a “worthless, arrogant guy who’s going to treat you like shit.” Like, okay, Brett. Thanks for not being a complete and totally ass about things. In case you think it’s just a case of him being jealous because she didn’t tell him {not because she’s his type because he very clearly tells her, “You’re not my type”}, later, Janey tells him how she felt super insecure when she saw a pretty girl talking with Luke. Instead of making her laugh or doing anything that a best friend should do, Brett tells her that she’s right to feel that way because Luke is “weak” and “if a pretty girl is willing to make herself available,” Luke wouldn’t “ignore it.”

I really could have done without Brett in this book.

Sure, he does come around, but it’s a case of too little, too late. He’s a buttface, pure and simple, and I don’t know why Janey didn’t just kick him out of her life.

Another thing that bothered me about this book was how it seemed like you couldn’t be a functioning woman while also wanting to have sex. At one point, Janey walks in on her newly single mother having afternoon sex with a man. This shakes Janey to her core, which I get, but later, she marvels that her mom is “single and horny,” but can also be the “doting, generous, sentimental” mother that she’s always known. Well, yeah. You can be horny and still be a good person. Like, obviously?? Then there are the times when Janey is so distracted by Luke and his handsomeness that she can barely function. I get that Luke is probably her first boyfriend, but she had such a stable head on her shoulders before him that I doubt she would lose it for a smile and good hair.

Like I said, this book is cute and one of those novels that will take you back to a simpler time of first loves and jerk friends. It’s a quick, fun read that will make you really think about high school, and maybe realize that you’ve put on rose-colored glasses when it comes to those four years. Janey is sweet and goofy, and she’s the perfect narrator to take you through this journey.

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