Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 322
Genre: Young Adult; magical realism
Source: Bought a signed copy at Books of Wonder!
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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Every Day is not the type of book I usually read. I tend to stick to contemporary, but because I'd heard such great things about David Levithan and enjoyed a couple of his collaborations, I decided to give one of his solo books a try. The idea for Every Day sounded intriguing, but I was still afraid it would be too out there, too close to paranormal for me. I'm so glad I didn't let that stop me, though, because Every Day turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a while.

The idea, even if it sounded strange at first, is pure genius. A main character that wakes up in a different body and life every day opens up so many opportunities to explore, and I love how it forced me to think about so many different issues. The variety of people and lives that A inhabits over the course of this novel is remarkable, and many of them made me think and question my own opinions. I found the chapters that forced me to think about the borders between body and soul especially interesting, like the time A is suicidal, the time A is a drug addict, and all the times that provoke questions about gender. Because of the unusual situation, A has a distinct perspective on life that is fascinating to read about.

What I loved most about this novel, aside from the genius idea and plot, is David Levithan's writing. He manages to address all of these issues, without ever sounding preachy - they're just a natural part of the story. In between these serious issues, David Levithan manages to switch to a more lighthearted style that let the reader get to know A better. The writing flows so nicely that you will want to finish the whole book within one sitting. (Note to self: Don't start great books during finals week.)

I'm not sure what to make of the romance in Every Day. In a way, A's love for Rhiannon seemed too insta-love-y for me, and A's feelings can be considered exaggerated considering how little they really know about each other. If you think about A's situation, though, it does sort of make sense - having switched bodies all his life, he has never known anyone for more than a day, and desperately wants to form a connection with someone, which plays into why he cares for Rhiannon so much. I enjoyed seeing Rhiannon struggle with this unusual relationship, because even though you might judge her for her sometimes close-minded views in regards to her relatinship with A, I know that I wouldn't have reacted any better and that her issues are most definitely realistic. I still wish, though, that Rhiannon's character had had some more depth to it outside of her relationships with Justin and A.

Despite those smaller issues, Every Day is a new favorite of mine. It made me think and question my own values in regards to issues of body and gender, and I know A's story will continue to stay with me. This is an amazing novel - I can't recommend it enough!


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