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“My mum always says you should think of boys as spiders. They’re more scared of us than we are of them,” Keira. –Never Evers
by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Thirteen-year-old Mouse is pretty sure her life is totally over. Now that she’s been kicked out of ballet school, she has to go on her new school’s ski trip basically knowing no one. Well, except too-cool-for-school Keira and crazy Connie-May (and her adorable hamster, Mr. Jambon).
Meanwhile, Jack’s life is just about to begin. He’s on the way to the slopes with his school too, and all he can think about is how to get his first kiss.
With her new friends by her side, Mouse has more fun skiing and building igloos than she expected. And when Jack catches Mouse’s eye, he’s smitten. All’s well—that is, until mega-pop star, Roland arrives on the scene and sets his sights on Mouse too! A week in the snow is about to get complicated. . .
Never Evers is ridiculous, over the top, and funny. The story focuses on two friend groups. One group includes three boys—Jack, Max, and Toddy. Max is totally obsessed with kissing a girl—any “hot” girl. Even though Jack is smitten with Mouse, Max keeps pushing Jack to spend time with another hot girl, which causes some drama. Like many preteen boys, the three friends are immature, use body humor, and talk about “pubes” (pubic hair).
The other friend group includes Mouse, Connie, and Kiera. In order to determine if Jack likes Mouse, the girls make a love spell, which causes some laughable moments. However, unlike the group of boys, the girls are not obsessed with boys. Instead, Mouse is also dealing with getting kicked out of dance school, a mean girl, and making new friends.
Never Evers is full of friendship drama, crushes, jealousy, and misunderstandings. The story’s point of view flip flops between Jack and Mouse, which allows the reader to understand their confusion about the opposite sex. Using humor, the story expertly portrays the confusion and insecurity that many tweens feel about growing up. While the story is often laugh-out-loud funny, it also shows the importance of kindness and having friends who will stand by you no matter what.
While Never Evers is not great literature, it will resonate with tweens who often feel awkward and uncertain. Middle school readers who aren’t ready for more mature romances will enjoy Never Evers. If you’re looking for a similar tween-friendly romance, add Pugs and Kisses by J.J. Howard to your reading list.
- A group of boys talk about a boy who said, “he kissed sixteen girls in five days.
- A group of boys talks about their inability to get a girlfriend. “You know Ed’s kissed ten girls now? Ten. He’s a month younger than me and he’s on double digits.”
- Mouse has never kissed a boy, but her friend, Keira, has “kissed three other boys.” Keira says, “You’re not missing out on anything, to be honest. It’s a little anticlimactic, really. You think it’ll be this big, life-changing moment, but it’s actually just Elliot Campbell slobbering all over you.”
- While on the bus, a boy moons a group of girls.
- While talking about Connie’s true love, the bus passes a sign for a French teen singer. Connie says, “Ron is my one true love. But I might let Roland English-kiss me. To warm me up for Ron.”
- While watching Romeo and Juliet, Mouse thinks, “Watching sex scenes with your parents is horrendous, but it turns out watching them with a bunch of people your own age is also really bad.”
- While lost in the wilderness, Jack and Mouse go into an igloo to keep warm. Jack “buried all my worries and fears deep in the snow, and leaned in to kiss her.” Before he can, a rescue team shows up.
- At a dance, Connie kisses a boy. Someone sees them, and says, “That Connie girl’s a man-eater.”
- Jack thinks about kissing Mouse. “I knew I shouldn’t feel scared anymore, but I did. It was scary. Doing anything for the first time is scary. But I wanted to kiss her so bad.” He moves closer to Mouse, and, “Then I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and leaned in towards her.”
- While talking to a group of girls, Jamie was teasing Jack and his friends. “Before I could stop him, Max launched himself at Jamie, shoving him hard in the chest and sending him crashing onto the cold, hard ice. . . Jamie was too shocked to even respond.” A teacher scolds the boys.
Drugs and Alcohol
- “Oh my God,” and “Oh God” are used as an exclamation frequently.
- Occasionally there is name calling, such as dummy, idiot, lunatic, loser, jerk, freak, and wierdo. For example, Kiera calls a mean girl and her friends “a bunch of rancid, pathetic losers.”
- Crap (or a version of it) is used six times. Jack says, “The only snow I’ve seen is the crappy kind that turns gray and icy and melts within a day.”
- Freakin’ is used three times. A boy yells, “You’re a freakin’ maniac, Max!”
- Hell is used seven times. When Mouse disappears, Jack thinks, “I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on.”
- Mouse and her friends use The Teen Witches’ Book of Spells to cast a love spell. As part of the spell, the girls make a circle out of their clothes and stand in the circle. Mouse’s friend Keira says, “We need paper and a pen. A true belief in magic. A full moon. . . A hair from your head and a mason jar.”
- Mouse puts a piece of her hair in a jar. Then she writes a boy’s name and puts it into the jar. Kiera says, “Okay, now we’re going to hold hands, and we all have to sing, ‘Name is written / Hidden singing / Compel the object to my bidding / So mote it be.”
- Mouse hides in a bathroom stall so she can hear a group’s conversation. While there, she prays, “Please, God, don’t let my phone ring.”
- Occasionally the teens pray. For example, when Kiera writes Jack (Mouse’s crush) on her jeans, Mouse prays that Kiera “didn’t wear those jeans again this week.”
- Jack asks Mouse if she wants to get a hot chocolate. When she turns him down, Jack prays, “Please, God, let something happen now to end this moment—a fire alarm, an avalanche, a rip in the space-time continuum. . . Anything.”