mily Wibberley grew up in Southern California, but instead of working on her nonexistent tan at the beach, she spent her time reading, making music and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Shortly after falling for her best friend, Austin Siegemund-Broka, she attended Princeton University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2014 with a degree in Psychology. She and Austin now live and write YA contemporary together. Their debut, Always Never Yours, will be published by Penguin Books in Summer 2018.
Also check out Emily’s and Austin’s new website at www.emilyandaustinwrite.com.
Austin Siegemund-Broka cowrites YA contemporary with Emily Wibberley. His debut with Wibberley, ALWAYS NEVER YOURS, publishes from Puffin/Speak in 2018.
A former journalist in the entertainment industry, where he covered the courts and, yes, met a couple celebrities, he graduated from Harvard in 2014 with a degree in English and a focus on Shakespeare. When he’s not writing (or reading) YA, he enjoys combing every corner of contemporary music and watching Buffy with Emily.
He lives in Los Angeles.
An academic enemies-to-lovers YA with all the nerdy drama, high school antics, and heartpounding romance of the Netflix original series Never Have I Ever
Since high school began, Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have competed on almost everything. AP classes, the school paper, community service, it never ends. If Alison could avoid Ethan until graduation, she would. Except, naturally, for two over-achieving seniors with their sights on valedictorian and Harvard, they share all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school’s principal assigns them the task of co-planning a previous class’s ten-year reunion, with the promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do, Ethan and Alison are willing to endure one more activity together if it means beating the other out of the lead.
But with all this extra time spent in each other’s company, their rivalry begins to feel closer to friendship. And as tension between them builds, Alison fights the growing realization that the only thing she wants more than winning…is Ethan.
Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Thoughts and Themes: I was actually pretty surprised with how much I enjoyed reading this one. I was a little concerned going in to this book because from the look at the cover it isn’t something that I typically read. I’m glad that I gave it a try though because I enjoyed remembering what it is like to be in high school.
Right from the start of this book you get the enemies to lovers story of our two main characters which is great. I really liked the competition between these two characters and how realistic it was. I liked how there was no outside pressure on these two students to be exceptional so it was was their own choice to do this.
I also liked how things didn’t quickly progress into these two characters being in love with each other. I liked how this was complicated for them to navigate and they struggled with these new feelings. I liked watching them not know how to interact with each other when it wasn’t something they were used to.
There were so many moments that I thought were hilarious and it really reminded me of watching people in my high school courses. I remember being in the school for advanced studies and watching everything be a competition for people. I remember the teachers fueling this competition so I really liked how this story made it so that the teachers and other students were frustrated by the competition.
Characters: In this story you are introduced to a few characters through the perspective of Alison. You get to meet Dylan, who is Alison’s best friend, and Ethan, who is Alison’s rival. I really liked the friendship that you see between Dylan and Alison and also liked how Dylan’s relationship with Olivia affects this. When I was reading this book it really made me want to hand it to my best friend as a like I’m sorry for the person I became when I was dating in high school. I liked how we see Dylan on her own and then Dylan with Olivia to point out the big difference there is.
I also liked watching the relationship that Alison and Ethan have with each other and how it affects those around them. I really thought it was hilarious to watch Alison’s parents mock her about Ethan and insist that something was there between them. I liked watching how those around them such as teachers and class mates got frustrated with the constant feuding.
Something that I wasn’t really a fan of though is how these characters weren’t too developed. I wanted to know more about them beyond their feud. I did wonder if that was intentional though so that we could see that there wasn’t much to them besides that. I really wanted to know if there was more to them than this fighting.
The only thing that I was a bit ehh about was the lack of diversity with out cast of characters. I loved reading them but they did seem like cookie cutter copies of each other.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Alison which I really enjoyed. I like that this story is told through her perspective and we don’t get to see anyone else’s feelings. The fact that the story is told in her perspective keeps it in high school and makes the story feel right for the age it is written. I thought it being in her perspective made it funny when adults would get involved since she insisted she knew better than them. I liked how often people had to remind her to just be a teenager.