Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always - Elissa Janine Hoole
I have to confess something with this book: I requested a review copy on Netgalley because I thought the cover was really pretty. I'd just been turned down for a couple of titles that I was REALLY excited about, so I thought that I maybe my chances of getting approved for my next request might be better if I'd read and reviewed more titles (silly, I know). So I perused through some upcoming titles, and the cover of this book jumped out at me.
Once I started reading the book, it was NOT at all what I expected. Cassandra's family is very religious, and they seem to be part of a fundamentalist Christian church (i.e. the Church is opposed to all kinds of things, including the school's Winter Carnival). Cassandra, despite her family's beliefs, feels that she's an atheist and struggles with how to coexist with her parents. Also, her older brother is gay, and she's learning how to deal with the way that the world sees him.
These conflicts aren't the centre of the story. The main focus is the fact that Cassandra purchases a pack of tarot cards for her birthday and then starts up a fortune-telling blog that goes viral, where she does readings in response to her readers' questions. The main subplot that runs through the story is that Cassandra's English teacher has asked her to write a poem, a song of herself. Since Cassandra isn't too sure how she fits into the world, with her religious beliefs and friendships that just don't feel right, she can't write the assignment.
There were a few moments where I wondered where the book was headed, and felt that the storyline was getting just a little too preachy. But then the writer pulled it back perfectly and I found myself enjoying the book again. By the end of the book, I was loving Cassandra's story and rooting for her. This is a very enjoyable contemporary tale that deals with a lot of tough issues, but in a heartfelt and genuine way.
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Netgalley. The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my review of this book in any way.