Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Every Day

I had been waiting anxiously to get my hands on a copy of David Levithan’s new release, Every Day.  I’m not sure if my library didn’t have one at first, or if someone else got to it before me, but I practically did a happy dance the day that I finally found a copy on the shelf.  My dear friend Tracy read it as soon as it came out and highly recommended it to me.  Then, once it was on my radar, it was like I saw reviews of this book everywhere.  And everyone that read this book simply raved about this.  I read reviews where people declared it was the best book they had read all year, or even the best book they had read EVER. 

 So by the time I got my hands on a copy, I had pretty high expectations for Every Day.  And it definitely did not disappoint.  This book was simply fantastic.  The basic premise is fascinating: A is a soul without a body.  Every day, s/he wakes up in a different body.  S/he never jumps large geographic distances or age groups—s/he is pretty much always in a 16-year-old (which is how old s/he is) and seems to stay in about a four-hour radius (unless the host body travels a long way that day).  But there are no limitations of sex, socioeconomic status, health…. Or anything else.  A is in each body for one day, no more or less.  So s/he lives drastically different lives, every day.  I was just fascinated by some of the different lives that A enters…. a younger sister who A inspires to stand up to her big brother, or an addict that A struggles to keep from drugs for just that one day, or a deeply depressed girl that A intervenes to save.

 So just the premise of the book had me hooked.  Then we get to the actual storyline: while in the body of a boy named Justin, A meets Rhiannon, Justin’s girlfriend, and falls in love with her.  In the following days, A cannot stop thinking about Rhiannon.  And for the first time, A decides that living his own life might be more important than maintaining the status quo in the lives he inhabits for a day.  So every day, in different bodies, he tries to find his way back to Rhiannon.

 Can a relationship like that work?  Can Rhiannon learn to love A, even though he’s never in the same body twice?  (See, I fell into the trap of referring to A as “he,” even though s/he’s not really either gender…. but since some of his most important encounters happen in male bodies, I tend to think of him that way.)  And what will those people remember the next day, when they regain possession of their own bodies?  In at least one case, a boy realizes that he has been “possessed” for a day and starts what amounts to a witch hunt for A.

 There are so many different threads of story and thought running through this book.  It introduces so many interesting ideas.  I could spend hours thinking about any of the various concepts in this book, yet it never feels overcrowded, preachy, or overwhelming.

 I had previously read some collaborations by David Levithan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green and both Nick and Norah’s InfinitePlaylist and Dash and Lily’s Book ofDares with Rachel Cohn), but I had never read any of his other solo works.  I simply fell in love with Every Day and wholeheartedly agree with its many rave reviews.  I will definitely be reading more of David Levithan in 2013!

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