Friday, August 9, 2013

Every Day by David Levithan

Every day A wakes up in the body of a new person. A has no idea who the person will be or what sort of life they will have. A has come to terms with this sort of life and makes sure to live by the following rules: avoid being noticed and do not interfere.

But one day A inhabits the body of Justin, a 16-year-old boy with a girlfriend named Rhiannon. A cannot stop thinking about her, and suddenly the rules of A's life have been thrown out the window. A wants to be with Rhiannon every day, and in order to make that happen, the rule "do not interfere" suddenly gets cast aside in a desperate attempt to keep Rhiannon in the picture.

I absolutely loved the writing in this book. David Levithan has a way of getting you to think beyond just character and plot in this novel and makes your thoughts turn more philosophical. As with this passage when A is discussing the way he/she (we never know A's gender) lives: 

 I know it sounds like an awful way to live, but I've seen so many things. It's so hard when you're in one body to get a sense of what life is really like. You're so grounded in who you are. But when who you are changes every day -- you get to touch the universal more. Even the most mundane details. You see how cherries taste different to different people. Blue looks different. You see all the strange rituals boys have to show affection without admitting it. You learn that if a parent reads to you at the end of the day, it's a good sign that it's a good parent, because you've seen so many other parents who don't make the time. You learn how much a day is truly worth, because they're all so different. If you ask most people what the difference was between Monday and Tuesday, they might tell you what they had for dinner each night. Not me. By seeing the world from so many angles, I get more of a sense of its dimensionality. (107)

 But even despite the beautiful writing, I could not get past two things:

1) Suspending my disbelief. There was no real world building in order to understand how it's possible for a person to have spent their whole life traveling from body to body every day. I think Levithan was going for more symbolic and philosophical themes and that's why he felt like he didn't have to answer that question (this is merely conjecture on my part) but as someone who prefers realistic fiction to fantasy, this was something I honestly could not get past.

2) The ending. Huh? I just didn't get it at all. And the unanswered questions make me wonder if Levithan is planning a sequel. Or maybe he just likes to torture his readers with questions lingering in their minds. I don't know. I felt like just when A was starting to figure out why this happens to him/her, the book ended.

Despite my frustrations, it really was a worthwhile read, one that asks you to examine your own life and what you would be willing to do for love. And part of me wonders if Levithan intended for readers to have these frustrations in order for more colorful and lively discussion. I could see this being a fantastic book club or literature circle pick for that reason.

Every Day by David Levithan
Published: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 324
Genre: Fantasy (Magical Realism)
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Purchased Copy


  1. An interesting premise, Beth. Have you thought about adding it to the August Books You Loved collection over at Carole's Chatter? Cheers

  2. I totally agree with you. That ending wasn't good enough. So many questions needed to be answered. A sequel is definitely needed. Anyways, great review! I loved this book.