If you were born after 1985, you’ll remember the high school game Never Have I Ever where those playing each put their hands into a circle, and one by one everyone goes around and says something they’ve never done. If you’ve done the stated action, you put a finger down, and the last person with fingers remaining “wins” the game. Or do they?
In Katie Heaney’s debut book Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date, Heaney meticulously illustrates her love life starting at the mature age of five. While her promiscuous grade school days, laden with multiple crushes and several boyfriends at the same time, may foreshadow an equally promiscuous young adult life, Heaney comically narrates how she came to be twenty-four years old without having ever had a serious boyfriend. From attempts at drunken hookups at frat parties, to being set up by friends, to a hilarious description of the online dating scene, Heaney chronologically maps out her numerous forays and failures in the world of dating.
Heaney writes in a way that feels like you’re having a conversation with her, rather than reading her biography. The book has a limited audience though and will likely only appeal to females between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Heaney references numerous teen icons from the 90’s and 2000’s which a reader from this age bracket will immediately relate to, but older or younger readers will likely not appreciate as thoroughly. The wider appeal of the book however comes from the ageless feelings Heaney depicts of unrequited love and failed first dates.
Those who enjoy this book might also like Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Similar to Never Have I Ever, Kaling’s book is filled with laugh-out-loud anecdotes and theories from her daily life. For a fictional book of this nature, try Jenny Han’s novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This is the story of a high school girl who writes secret letters to each of the boys she’s had crushes on over the years. Like Never Have I Ever, Han’s book systematically follows the progression of falling in and out of like as a young adult.