Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Genre: Contemporary, UKYA
Published by: Chicken House
After reading Lobsters some time last year, and enjoying the experience of reading more UKYA, I was more than happy to pick up this duo’s latest book, Never Evers. I have a soft spot for books that take place over a school trip, and books with celebrities, so basically all of the blurb appealed to me! I can say, whole-heartedly, that I enjoyed this book much more than the debut, so let’s discuss…
P L O T
The book, like Lobsters, is split into two different perspectives. First there’s:
Mouse – After being kicked out of ballet school, she feels at a loss and out of touch with her friends. A skiing trip is exactly what she needs in order to find herself again. Backdropped by the Alps, she begins to fancy Jack and looks for ways she can make him fall in love with her, which result in some hilarious teenage witchcraft and igloo building! Unconventional methods, but they err on the side of success! It’s too bad her rival, Lauren, fancies Jack too…
Jack – The boy in the unnamed band, on a mission with his other bandmates to ‘get off’ with as many girls as possible. (Sidenote: ‘get off’ is such an ugly term, and for me, suggests sex, whereas these characters are only 14 and what they mean by ‘get off’ is just kissing.) Not as crude as his best friend, Max, Jack fancies Mouse immediately, but Lauren keeps getting in the way. Not to mention he resembles a French pop-sensation Roland, which can only lead to trouble.
As you can probably tell, there’s a lot of plot, but I don’t think all the plot points were realised to their full potential. Then again, the whole body-double thing with Jack and Roland could have been a goldmine, but it would have been difficult to pursue without replicating The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which, let’s be honest, is beautiful enough on its own.
R O M A N C E
I thought it was sweet, just generally sweet. The only obstacle between them and their relationship was Lauren and once she was out of the picture, it was all smooth sailing. I definitely had flashbacks to my giddy 14 year old crushes and the way they both acted was very indicative of their age, in a good way. Although the mission to ‘get off’ with girls felt a little inappropriate, I knew they had good intentions. Jack didn’t want to get with Lauren because she was ‘hot’. He wanted to be with Mouse, who intrigued him and was cute, despite Max labelling her a ‘freak’. I also like that the romance in Never Evers was much more tame than in Lobsters. Everything was age appropriate and I appreciated that!
F R I E N D S H I P
Even though romance could be seen as the main focus, the thing I enjoyed most about the book was the powerhouse friendship between Mouse, Connie and Keira. Despite not being very close before the trip began, the three of them came to really love and respect each other, no matter how crazy Connie was! (Fave character by far!) They looked out for each other and supported each other, and to get such strong friendship vibes from a book that’s under 300 pages is really special. Although there was the petty mean/good girl divide and friendship groups seemed to only work in trios, there’s a lot to be said about a good friendship in books, where girls support each other, rather than compete with each other.
The antics that Connie, Keira and Mouse got up to were hilarious. I loved that Connie brought a hamster on the trip and that Keira wanted them all to cast love spells and dress up. I felt like I was part of their group while reading and that doesn’t happen often.
V E R D I C T
Overall, I thought that Never Evers was trying to achieve a lot in under 300 pages and it managed to succeed. You got a good romance with a bit of tension stopping us from getting their immediately, hilarious banter between the boys and the girls, an emotional maturity that matched the characters’ ages and a bit of pop star scandal thrown in for good measure. I’m giving the book 3.5 stars, and I’ll definitely be looking out for Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivision’s next collaboration!