Jun 212018

Cover of Always Never Yours by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley.VOYA: Bold flirt and theatre director Megan prefers to be behind the scenes, but must take one acting credit to get into her dream college. Hoping to get the smallest part in her schools’ performance of Romeo and Juliet, she is stunned to find herself cast as the lead—and Romeo is not only her ex, but also her best friend’s current boyfriend.

Like a modern-day Rosaline, Megan tends to be the girl that guys date right before they find true love. Megan agrees to help budding playwright Owen Okita with his latest play in exchange for his help getting the attention of hot stagehand Will. Time with Owen becomes an increasingly enjoyable respite from school, family, and social stress. With her divorced father’s new family growing, it seems his new life does not include her. Her constant flirting with Owen could turn the newfound friendship into something bigger—but at what cost?

There are plenty of Romeo and Juliet-inspired YA books that only use the device as an initial hook. Always Never Yours, however, entwines the play throughout the plot, the characters, and the settings. It is refreshing to see a female character portrayed as fearless and comfortable with her own physicality. Glimpses into her vulnerability help keep Megan from being over the top. Supporting characters include a realistically diverse group of friends, and their interactions are authentic. Fans of Jenny Han and Kasie West will root for Megan’s happiness