Kicked out of ballet academy and straight into a school ski trip, Mouse knows certain classmates can’t wait to see her fall flat on her face. Meanwhile, Jack looks forward to danger and girls, but hasn’t a clue about either. That’s until French teen sensation Roland arrives in the resort – who Jack’s a dead ringer for. When Roland persuades Jack to be his stand-in for a day, Jack, in disguise, declares his feelings for Mouse. But what happens when he’s no longer a pop star – will it be music and magic on the slopes?
The opening to Never Evers immediately leaves you intrigued, as Mouse is nervous about the ski trip. You are made aware that something has happened regarding her place at ballet school and another girl in her year, Lauren, but it is unclear exactly what has happened. Their rivalry and Mouse’s lies, in order to save her from the embarrassment she feels from the truth, extends across the length of the book, and is one of the main plot lines. In my opinion, it was a strong part of the book.
I loved the characters – Jack and his group of friends were really entertaining, and although Max was a little irritating at times (as he was obsessed with trying to hang out with the popular girls, including Lauren) he was a really distinctive character, and a driving force in the plot, as without him, Jack and Mouse would have taken a lot longer to introduce themselves, if they ever did. Mouse’s group of friends was equally entertaining, and I loved that they were loyal and kind, even when they found out that Mouse had lied to them. Connie, one of Mouse’s friends, was probably my favourite character, as she was hilarious – I particularly liked Mr Jambon the hamster! – but she also included Mouse from the very beginning and tried to make her feel welcome. Keira did this too, and I thought that this was such a positive message in the book.
I liked the inclusion of Roland the French popstar, and that he was a lookalike for Jack, as it gave the plot another layer beyond the ski trip, and also created conflict over Mouse, which motivated Jack to talk to her. Jack and Mouse were friends as well as interested in each other romantically, which made their feelings for each other more realistic, as they had a basis in personality.
I would’ve liked to have known what Mouse was going to do next by way of schools and ballet, but overall felt that the book ended in the right place. Also, at times the story did feel a little simple and straightforward, but it is categorised as both middle grade and young adult, so this is probably necessary for younger readers.
Overall, I enjoyed Never Evers, and I think that Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen make an excellent writing team! I would recommend this book in particular to younger teenagers, but those who liked Lobsters, by the same authors, may also enjoy this as it has a similar style in the way the narrative is split between a boy and a girl who like each other, even though it is aimed at a slightly younger audience.