Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Every Day by David Levithan
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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(courtesy of Goodreads)
**The main character of this book is ardently described as being neither male nor female. I'm using him/her to refer to 'A' or just using 'A'. This makes the prose of the review a bit awkward, so I apologize in advance.
Every Day is one of the most thought provoking and touching books I read in 2012. 'A' the main character, is a person who you will grow to love, but also find frustratingly short-sighted. At the time, I blamed these character flaws on the author. Now, I'm wondering whether Levithan put them there on purpose - I don't know.
Can you imagine the only life you've ever known is waking up in the body of a different person every day? You're like an alien invader. The thought of living a million different lives at first seems invigorating; you'd certainly never lack for variety. But also imagine never having a family, no friends, no house, no clothes...absolutely no life independent of the people who temporarily inhabit? How isolating.
'A' has figured things out after 16 years of being a body snatcher. 'A' is cautious to the extreme. Not doing anything to expose himself/herself or to make the life of his/her host more difficult. 'A' is flexible, resourceful, and quick to catch on to his/her host's personalities and habits. I greatly respected how 'A' managed to create even a small life for himself/herself while remaining sensitive to his/her hosts.
This all changes when 'A' meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of a jerk whose body 'A' inhabited. 'A' falls head-over-heels in love with this sweet girl. Suddenly,'A' is using his/her host bodies to go to almost any length to see Rhiannon. It's not so much that 'A' is forgetting to be cautious, but more that he/she is weighing the pro's and con's and caution loses.
I had a little trouble with A's ability to empathize with Rhiannon. In other parts of 'A''s life, empathy is one of A's strong suit. It's hard not to relate to people when you've lived so many of their lives. Yet, 'A' was also incredibly short-sighted when it came to Rhiannon. She was stuck in an abusive relationship. 'A' desperately wanted Rhiannon to get rid of him. I was annoyed at how angry 'A' got about Justin (the bad boyfriend). I understood 'A' hating seeing Rhiannon in a bad position, but his/her anger made 'A' seem more like a jerk than a caring friend. 'A' just couldn't comprehend why she didn't drop him and lashed out. I wonder if the author also feels A's reaction to be a character flaw. Perhaps 'A''s inexperience with long term relationships, in any form, make it nearly impossible for him/her to understand Rhiannon's reticence.
Every Day is a book readable yet deep. It has a unique quasi-paranormal framework that the reader quickly understands. The world-building fits seamlessly into the plot. And while I didn't always agree with A's actions or thoughts, I very much enjoyed spending a book inside his/her head. If you're still questioning whether to read this book, read it for the ending. It was perfect - perfect for this book at least. It makes me smile wistfully just thinking about it.