Book review: Never Ever Forever is a showcase of the best romantic comedy tropes and we are here for it

There’s just something about a romantic comedy. They’re comfortingly predictable, often laugh out loud funny, and there’s that deeply satisfying feeling of being able to race through a book in a single day because you’re so absorbed in what you’re reading.

Enter Karina May’s second novel, Never Ever Forever, the follow up to her debut Duck a l’Orange for Breakfast. Karina is no stranger in rom-com land. In fact, she is the host of a podcast (alongside fellow writer, Clare Fletcher) all about them. As you read her work, you can feel her deep reverence for this much-maligned genre, as well as her love for the people who read and watch them. Quite simply, Karina May’s books are a joy.

Never Ever Forever is the story of Rosie, a radio host living in Mudgee after her career and her relationship imploded. It’s unfortunate that she’s living in wine country, because reminders of her ex – who works in exporting Australian wines around the world- are everywhere. And it’s not like she’s got much choice by way of moving on, either.

The book opens as Rosie embarks on yet another disastrous date with someone she has met on Tinder, and the not-so-cute meet-cute is interrupted by an obnoxious but handsome television vet. When it turns out said vet is destined to be Rosie’s new co-host, it really starts to feel like the romance gods are messing with her, and she’s forced to consider whether moving forward is what’s best for her after all.

This novel really leans in to the tropes of romance writing, but in a way that is delicious and entertaining. More than just pure fan service, the novel is playful in digging up some bizarre scenarios for our main characters to find themselves in. Of course, none of it would work if not led by a strong and sassy heroine– and thankfully Rosie Royce is exactly that. She’s down to earth, more comfortable in a self-assigned uniform of jeans, stripy shirt and converse, and has a loveable quirk about hygiene and cleanliness.

Never Ever Forever explores some similar themes to Ducks a l’Orange for Breakfast in that we see our heroine reconnecting with an old flame while feeling drawn to someone new. We see her dealing with the family baggage that comes with said old flame (although there are no piece of work almost mothers-in-law in this one). And of course, there is luxury travel involved, this time to an elephant sanctuary in India.

Ultimately, this is a fun, absorbing read perfect for a lazy weekend when you want to read something that doesn’t make you work too hard. While at times, it might feel a little predictable, I took great joy in guessing what would happen next. The biggest question remains, did Rosie choose the right man? You’ll just have to read it for yourself to find out.


Karina May’s Never Ever Forever is available now from Pan Macmillan Australia. Grab yourself a copy from Booktopia HERE.

Emily Paull

Emily Paull is a former bookseller, and now works as a librarian. Her debut book, Well-Behaved Women, was released by Margaret River Press in 2019.