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I’m not so sure what to say about Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always. It certainly is interesting and I think the subject matters are very relevant in this day and age. Religion and technology were both integrated to form the backdrop to Cass’s story.
Cassandra fears rocking the family boat. Instead, she sinks it. Assigned by her English teacher to write a poem that reveals her true self, Cassandra Randall is stuck. Her family's religion is so overbearing, she can NEVER write about who she truly is. So Cass does what any self-respecting high school girl would do: she secretly begins writing a tarot-inspired advice blog. When Drew Godfrey, an awkward outcast with unwashed hair, writes to her, the situation spirals into what the school calls “a cyberbullying crisis” and what the church calls “sorcery.” Cass wants to be the kind of person who sticks up for the persecuted, who protects the victims the way she tries to protect her brother from the homophobes in her church. But what if she's just another bully? What will it take for her to step up and tell the truth?
Cass struggles with living in a family where she is the only one who doesn’t believe in God. The church they attend is very fundamentalist but she attends anyway for fear of telling her parents that she doesn’t believe. Then there’s her brother. He is secretly gay but he still believes in God. As if she doesn’t have enough conflict in her own home, Cass also has to deal with school and her best friend, whom she’s starting to recognize less and less as the person she has known for years.
Through it all, she has to try and find herself, so she can complete that English assignment. Without knowing who she is, she has no idea how to portray herself in a poem. When she becomes enticed with tarot cards, she’s inspired to start a blog. She does it anonymously, yet she has no way of predicting what kind of trouble this can bring her and others.
For the most part, Cass’s struggles were believable. At 17, it surely must be tough to break to highly religious parents that one doesn’t share their faith. Even for her brother, Eric, at 18 and still attending high school, facing up to his parents to come out must also seem impossible. Both are faced with obstinate parents who insist that their children attend not only Sunday services but bible studies and youth group as well. Their stories were what interested me. Sadly, the blogging part felt a little out of place. Well, maybe not so much the blogging but the consequences that came out of it. Those left me cold.
Anyone who is into books that explore faith, religion and spirituality is sure to derive enjoyment out of it. However, if you’re into contemporary books that also consider the place of technology, such as the Internet and social media, then maybe this one might end up being a bit underwhelming.