Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: "Every Day" by David Levithan

In 2010, John Green and David Levithan wrote one of my favorite books of the year, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, an incredible story about relationships, being yourself, and taking a chance to break out of your shell. Now it appears that John Green and David Levithan have written two of my most favorite books of 2012—Green's amazing, heartbreaking, hopeful The Fault in Our Stars, and now, Levithan's new book, Every Day.

Reading Every Day requires you to suspend your disbelief, but it will be well worth it. It is the story of A. Every day A wakes up in the body of another teenager. There is no rhyme or reason to whose body A wakes up in on a given day—male, female, straight, gay, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, fat, thin, well-adjusted, or mentally ill. For one day, A becomes that person, accesses their memories, speaks in their voice, follows their daily routine, and interacts with their friends. And at the end of 24 hours, A leaves that person with some memories of what happened the previous day, but because A does very little to disrupt the lives of those A inhabits, they're generally none the worse for wear. It's a lonely life—A can't build relationships with anyone because the next day A is someone completely different.

But one day A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of the boy whose body A inhabits that day. And although this has only happened a few times before (and with both boys and girls, as A doesn't identify with a particular gender), A falls for Rhiannon—hard. And suddenly, all A wants to do is be with Rhiannon, no matter whose body A inhabits that day. Which leads to some interesting, intriguing, and troublesome consequences. A longs to have a "normal" life with Rhiannon, but how can it work when A is someone different every single day? Is it possible to love someone for who they are inside, and disregard their exterior completely?

While the premise of this book may sound hard to grasp, Levithan is an amazing storyteller and he quickly draws you into A's story. Getting a glimpse into a different person's life every day is a fascinating concept, one that forces you to empathize and identify with their struggles and victories. This is definitely not a book that passes judgment on anyone's life, and I love the diversity of teenagers whose lives A inhabits. But no matter how unusual A's story is, the emotions A feels, the desire to love, be loved, build a life with one person, and, ultimately, be remembered, are universal. This is a beautiful, unusual, moving, and tremendously affecting book.

David Levithan and, as I mentioned earlier, John Green (along with many other authors), once again prove that the genre of so-called "young adult" fiction is full of talent and worthy of exploration by adults of all ages. It's not all dystopia, mean girls, and magic. This is not our generation's "young adult" fiction, that's for sure.

1 comment:

  1. I'm an avid reader. I try to read at least one book per week. I ordered this novel after reading David Levithan's novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which he co-wrote with my favorite novelist John Green. I have to say that it was absolutely magnificent. I am not usually one to write reviews but I could not pass up on recommending this novel to others who may be debating on whether or not they'd be interested. Please do read it. Levithan's ideology is truly inspiring. Everyday's main character is a gender-less soul who falls in love with people-- not their gender. This novel truly moved me. I bow to you David Levithan.