Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Thoughts - Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day by David Levithan
published 8/28/12
324 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

A has no friends. No parents. No family. No possessions. No home, even. Because every day, A wakes up in the body of a different person. Every morning, a different bed. A different room. A different house. A different life. A is able to access each person's memory, enough to be able to get through the day without parents, friends, and teachers realizing this is not their child, not their friend, not their student. Because it isn't. It's A. Inhabiting each person's body. Seeing the world through their eyes. Thinking with their brain. Speaking with their voice.

It's a lonely existence — until, one day, it isn't. A meets a girl named Rhiannon. And, in an instant, A falls for her, after a perfect day together. But when night falls, it's over. Because A can never be the same person twice. But yet, A can't stop thinking about her. She becomes A's reason for existing. So each day, in different bodies — of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, walks of life — A tries to get back to her. And convince her of their love. But can their love transcend such an obstacle?

My thoughts -

Oh, friends. If I had read this book as a teenager, I would have been devastated. This is how I wanted to feel after the John Green novel. This book twisted my heart around in ways I couldn't have imagined. I laughed, I cried - I loved it.

A is technically genderless, and throughout the novel the reader indentifies A as both male and female in different spots. This gives Levithan an interesting telescope through which to examine gender roles and stereotypes, as well as the issues that each gender faces. For the most part, I think he handles the gender issue well. There were a few places where it felt a bit simplified, but I didn't ever feel like he became overly preachy or heavy-handed.

Levithan takes on a host of issues - relationships, teen depression, gender identity crises, sexuality, bullying, the list could go on - and if the novel has a weakness, this is where I would identify it. It became almost predictable - okay, what teen crisis is A going to have to deal with in this body - and having so many made each just a bit less impactful.

I enjoyed Levithan's writing very much. He gave A just the right voice - funny and wise, but not every beyond his years. Sometimes I've noticed YA authors want their teen characters to "be" smart, or sarcastic, or empathetic, and it can feel more like an adult saying their words - it seems like they are trying too hard. I never had that feeling with A - Levithan got the voice just right, and I was completely charmed by this unique young person.

"There is a part of childhood that is childish, and a part that is sacred. Suddenly we are touching the sacred part - running to the shoreline, feeling the first cold burst of water on our ankles, reaching into the tide to catch at shells before they ebb away from our fingers. We have returned to a world that is capable of glistening, and we are wading deeper within it. We stretch our arms wide, as if we are embracing the wind." (p. 14)

Every Day is a unique and compelling novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are a YA fan and haven't tried Levithan's work, don't wait any longer - I know I will be seeking out more of his novels to read soon! Recommended.

Finished - 3/21/13
Source - South side library
MPAA rating - PG-13 for teen sexuality, and some tense situations
My rating - 9/10


bermudaonion said...

Wow! I'm adding this to my wish list!

Zibilee said...

I have been wanting to read this one since first reading the reviews, and yours has convinced me. I think what interests me most is the blurring of the gender lines, and the way that the author handles it so well. Excellent review today. Must see if I can find it!