Sunday, November 3, 2013


(NEVER) AGAINCategory/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley Penguin
Publication Date: 10/15/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 211
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 2.5 stars

Just when she had finally moved on…
…He moved back.

When college freshman Liz Wagner hears her ex's voice for the first time since he moved clear across the freaking country, she does what any respectable girl would do: Dive into the girls' bathroom.

Zach Roberts—the Zach Roberts—is back. And he’s everywhere Liz looks—infiltrating her friend group, buddy-buddy with her brother. It’s enough to ruin college altogether. But what choice does she have but to put on a happy face and pretend he didn't leave her vulnerable and alone in a pile of emotional wreckage?

Pretending works, until tragedy strikes and the only person available for comfort is the one person she wants to stay away from. When Zach turns out not to be the jerk she convinced herself he was, but the boy she used to love, Liz needs to decide whether to open her heart again to the boy who tore it out.
So..... I'm not exactly sure how to review (Never) Again without being fairly negative. I don't like being ranty or mean, but I have to be honest, this book just didn't work for me on most levels. Let me just do this the easy way, and list what I didn't and did like.

  • I did not connect with, or even really like, the main character Liz. She was wishy-washy to an extreme, completely blind to the reality of the two guys she feels torn between, and melodramatic. She was eighteen, but her maturity level read like a tween. 

  • (Never) Again does have a love triangle. I'm one of those rare birds not bothered by triangles, as long as I can buy it. Liz's old boyfriend Zach comes back to town, causing her tons of turmoil because she took their breakup hard. Her new boyfriend Joe is an ass. Her friends know it, her family knows it, even Zach knows it, but she constantly makes excuses for him. It's no love triangle when you're just waiting for the heroine to simply open her eyes. 

  • The V-card. Specifically, Liz's. I can handle a character saying it once or twice, but she used the term every time she referred to her virginity. She wants to finally lose hers, but acted so odd about it. I just found it annoying.

  • The story felt repetitive, in plot and narrative. I only need to be told once or twice that Zach had changed in the past year or so. I don't need to constantly read about his newly bulging biceps. As far as the plot goes, the story slowly forward throughout, but to me it felt like "same story, different day". 

  • The big, unanswered question. Zach stopped calling Liz  after he moved while they were dating. She never found out why. When he shows back up at college, she stays sulled up at him, and whines about how bad it hurt. I don't know, Liz why don't you ask him? You're only together all day, every day. I don't like when a story revolves around a problem that can be solved by simply asking a question.  

Look, I truly don't have a problem with flawed characters. I'm a flawed person. But if I'm going to invest in a story, I need to not be so annoyed.   

Here's what I liked about (Never) Again:
  • I really liked Zach. Yeah, he hasn't handled everything ideally, but he was nice, seemed to have good intentions, and he didn't annoy me. I also liked Liz's brother Josh. He was basically the only person in the book that called her out on being a brat and her inability to open her eyes and see what's happening around her.

  • There are some really sweet moments in (Never) Again. Baking cookies and visiting an ill grandparent might not seem like staples of New Adult romance, but these quiet moments gave Liz the opportunity to slow down and see outside of herself. 

  • I liked the ending. And no, this is not me having a cruel, Simon Cowell moment. I genuinely liked how the story wrapped up. It was sweet and showed growth on Liz's part. 

Despite what I've said here, I didn't hate (Never) Again. If this had been one of my first New Adult reads with this, or a similar plot, I might have enjoyed it more. 

For an alternate point of view, check out these reviews I found on GoodReads:

Cassie's Review  |  Christine's Review

Favorite Quote:

  I've never been bitch slapped. Technically. But after the last few months I can imagine how it feels. If life had hands, its fingers would have imprinted on my cheek.    ~eARC, 1%

Purchase (Never) Again

About the author
Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in Long Island, NY with her boyfriend and Milton, their big eyed goldfish. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty which is why she writes New Adult and Young Adult books, reliving the best and worst years of her life through her characters. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. On November 11th 2011 at 11:11 she made a wish. Two hours later she was laid off. Jobless for the first time since she was sixteen she was determined to make her wish come true. Writing became her life again and after many nights of ignoring her boyfriend to spend time with her characters, she finally received the call that all her hard work, finger crossing and eye crossing paid off. She was getting published. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera or can be found in the blogosphere or on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. She is repped by the amazing Brittany Booker of The Booker Albert Literary Agency.

Website Twitter Facebook  |  Pinterest



  1. Oh, LOL. I don't think I've seen such a sarcastic review by you yet, Andrea. It was hilarious. I have issues with Liz already and as you said, it's the most frustrating thing ever when characters just don't ask, especially if it's a thing like this. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it to some length though, but with the issues you had, I'm not surprised by your rating. I hope that your next NA read is a tad better :)

  2. Ouch, sorry it wasn't impressive. Thanks for the honest review.

  3. I love the way you include nicer reviews, you are absolutely amazing and I love you

  4. Nicely done, pal. It's hard to write these kinda reviews but you did great. I'm thinking I'll pass on this one. Thanks for being honest.

  5. They can't all work!

    I think I just may be burned out on this genre as a whole so I'm sure this one won't work for me.

    I HATE when people don't just ask the simple question and the whole plot revolves around it. Grrr

  6. I understand what you mean about not wanting to be mean, sometimes we get so emotional over something thought that I don't think we can control it. I think it's okay at times, as long as you aren't trashing the book like some other people due. I found your review honest and not at all mean. I can see why the main character would annoy you. The V-card? acting immature, and unable to ask a question..ew

  7. Bummer girl. I have this one for review and need to get it read soon. I'm glad I know what to expect now, so I won't go in expecting greatness or a new, fresh take on a NA romance. It sounds like the things that annoyed you will bother me also. I hate when the girl is dating an ass and yet she makes excuses for him. That does not ever go over well with me. Thanks for being so honest in this one Andrea.

  8. Oh dear God, not another virgin! Damn, I have this one for review but now I know I won't enjoy it so I'm gonna have to skip it. I HATE/despise sucky love triangles. I want to be torn over who she should be with. And I don't think I would ever use the term V-card. Ever!

  9. Uh oh, this doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy, given the things you pointed out--wishy washy heroines are a pet peeve of mine! I also don't mind love triangles if they're well done, but it doesn't sound like this one seemed very convincing.

    Sorry you were disappointed by this one, Andrea, hope your next read is better! Appreciate the honest review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  10. I have this to review also. I was really hoping it would be better. Thanks for your honesty. I'll be more prepared when it's time to start.

  11. Great review, Andrea! Seriously! ;) You did a fine job explaining why this book didn't work for you. I'm sorry you spent time reading it when you didn't connect/like the MC but I appreciate you being so honest in sharing your thoughts.

  12. What a bummer. I love the cover and it looked good, but now I'm not sure I'll read it.

  13. It's always sad when a book disappoints. I like how you did this book in a what worked & didn't work list. Great Review! I think it's awesome how you put links to people's reviews that liked the book.


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