In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique" love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.
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.
With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
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The protagonist's situation is a lot like being sixteen years old, and struggling to discover who you really are in a shape shifting growing body/self. The book grabbed me right away with its premise and sparkly writing. When the protagonist meets a special young woman and seeks to prolong his relationship with her in spite of having a new body in a different town each day... a fine YA novel ensues. I enjoyed it.
Thankfully, the author offers no explanation for this strange phenomenon - that's just the way it is in this world. Whether or not there is a way out of the gilgul is something that is left for the last pages, and comes in a satisfyingly unexpected form.
I would characterize this as a romantic adventure written for young men, from a young man's point of view. I am not an expert on YA fiction, but I think that this male perspective makes it somewhat unusual within the romantic adventure genre. While readable and enjoyable by either gender, obviously, and while very exploratory with gay, lesbian, transgender and straight characters, on balance the protagonist's heterosexual love interest and young male perspective are at the center of the novel.
I almost think my almost sixteen year old son would enjoy it. It certainly captures a lot about how emerging sexualty and love and relationships and parents and friends feel at that age.
I recommend it for actual sixteen year olds and former sixteen year olds who would like to re-experience what it was like to live in a body so new they barely knew it at all.
Fun Questions Raised by Every Day
Does love outlast the body? Is love always embodied?
How much of a person is inside of him/her, and how much is carried, held, by all the people around him/her?
If you were inside of your love's brain/soul, would your love be there too? Or would that get a little crowded?
What would you remember, and what would your love remember of inhabiting the same body, once you no longer did? How would that morning after conversation go?
Could you sustain a relationship with a unified person who serially inhabited arbitrary, (although age constant?!) bodies? (And how many realities is THAT a metaphor for?)
Could you recognize your love if he or she approached you clothed in a completely different body? (Heh heh, a fine excuse: "That WASN'T you last night? I was sure I recognized the glint in your eyes. I see. You were waiting for me to come home. Well, this IS embarrassing.")
All these implicit questions and more, from a mere YA novel...more
Levithan does a marvelous job with the voices of his characters (including the varied ones whom A becomes for a day), and with the thought-provoking situations that arise as A moves from one body to another. When one of the teens, Nathan, realizes that he has been "inhabited" and claims that Satan possessed his body, it quickly makes the news, and a preacher who is overly interested in Nathan's story turns out to play an important part in the decisions that A and Rhiannon ultimately reach.more
Levithan also is not afraid to tackle some BIG topics, like identity, gender, personal responsibility, love, attraction. For other authors it would be too much, but Levithan is great with incorporating these elements without overwhelming the reader.
I also appreciate that he doesn't try to wrap up his stories in pretty bows. He leaves things ambiguous and open which as a reader can be frustrating but it more authentic, especially in this kind of story.
Not my favorite of his but still incredibly well written and unique read.more
I really liked it. It was a fascinating concept - can you love someone who is a different person (on the outside) every single day? I really liked the way the author set about answering that question, and I liked the answer that he came to. I thought the book ended just the way it should. And he also raised a lot of other interesting issues about physical appearance, gender, sexuality, family, the way we treat others, and the meaning of a life.more
As usual, Every Day is gorgeously written by Levithan. And he invokes fascinating thoughts about gender, sexuality, drug addiction, what is good, how much a person should interfere, etc., etc. But the larger question is how much should A get to own his life.
What I most applaud about this book are the boundaries Levithan set up for A's "ability." There are rules to what happens when the clock strikes midnight. And Levithan acknowledges and plays along with these rules - as he should. A is old enough to have figured some things out. It would be almost inexcusable if A didn't have SOME answers about what happens to him. But A has also figured out how to mess with the rules. And I think that's also great. And wonderful. The fact he has an email account delights me.
When it comes to the bigger questions Levithan asks about A's interference into the lives of others and religion and whether there are others like A out there, it's pretty nebulous. I expect it will invoke some strong opinions one way or the other.
All in all, a great book - gorgeously written, strong characters, fast-paced plot. The best part, though, was how many different questions and thoughts it generated in ME. Meaning it probably would make a fascinated book for an (open minded and awesome) book club.more
This novel is well written and has a unique premise, but is rather heavy-handed when dealing with its message. There are great sections that move through A's feelings towards Rhiannon and really capture the emotional intensity of incipient love. However, there were other sections that did little to progress the plot or develop the characters and served mostly just to reiterate the idea that lifestyles of any race, gender, or sexuality should be accepted. Now, as far as messages are concerned, this is certainly a good one, but its always preferable if an author lets the story develop its message naturally instead of hammering it into its readers.
The book also jumped the gun slightly on starting its love story. It felt almost like Levithan didn't realize just how unique and interesting his premise was, so, rather than providing a couple chapters to introduce the complexities of A's life, he dove straight into the love story in the first chapter.
But, criticisms out of the way, this is not a book that anyone will regret reading. It is entertaining and captivating, and provides an appealing, creative view of every day life (even if it doesn't flesh itself out as much as it could).
In the end, this book is a fun, interesting, and easy read even though it doesn't entirely reach its potential.more
And to be fair, I did knock the premise of the book at first, mostly because I’m a little tired of “My life is mundane (even by fantastical standards) but LO I HAVE MET [LOVE INTEREST] AND MY LIFE IS CHANGED SUNSHINE SPARKLES AND RAINBOWS.” But when it’s well-done, I can roll with it, and that is exactly what Levithan does. I liked that A has questioned the implications of what they do even if they don’t really influence the actions of the person they’re inhibiting at the moment. (Note: It is really hard not to describe A with specific gender pronouns. Just saying.) I also loved that A’s had to grapple with the fact that they don’t get a ‘tomorrow’ before, and that meeting Rhiannon just brings that idea up again. And I loved that the whole conflict is summed up so perfectly by using a line from “Running Up That Hill” (a song I love btw) and it just fits so well into the whole book and such a fantastic metaphor.
A could have been a frustrating character in that they don’t really have a set personality—not that A takes on the full personality whatever person they’re inhibiting, but A doesn’t really define themselves by being just one thing. I liked that even though a large part of A’s development is that they can make a difference in the lives they inhibit, particularly with Kelsea, but it never feels too preachy or overstated. I liked that A generally does accept the bodies they wake up in and just rolls with the punches. The only time I had an issue with that is when A wakes up in the body of an overweight boy and freaks out about “Omg I’m so disgusting I can’t let Rhiannon see me like this” and that whole day comes off as pitying that boy. It felt a little too fat-shaming to me. But I did like that A has to deal with the physical and mental problems of each person they inhibit—the whole day with Kelsea being my standout. It takes a lot to deal with that kind of depression and just how A and Rhiannon deal with it…heart-breaking. I loved that A gets confronted with their own perception of how people can be. This shows up more whenever A confronts Rhiannon about how her boyfriend treats her, and Rhiannon flat-out says that A’s got a biased perception of the situation.
I really liked Rhiannon. She felt like a normal girl, not a free spirit or a popular person or emo kid, just normal. And she’s caught in between a boyfriend with whom all the passion has kinda dimmed and some kid who’s experiencing new things every day. I liked that she genuinely cares about people, like when she checks up on some of the other teens A’s gone into to see if they’re doing all right. I even liked that she still loves Justin and calls A out on their biased opinion of Justin being a douchebag. (Well, Justin is but not all the time. That definitely felt realistic.) Rhiannon could have been too goody-two-shoes Mary Sue, but she never falls into that role.
And from what we did get of the other kids, I really liked them. Loved Nathan—he’s not the only one A uses in order to see Rhiannon, but he’s the one who gets the brunt of the effects. And I liked that he’s pissed off about it, and does confront A about what happened. Nathan’s reasoning of what happened feels a little too fantastical, but it felt like a logical leaped conclusion, and I also liked that even Nathan has to reconcile his ideas of what happened that day with A’s reasons. I loved the little glimpses we got into everyone’s lives, even if we never got the sense of their personalities. It’s especially interesting when A runs into their previous bodies and gets to see the reactions to their missing days. And I liked that there’s a hint that A isn’t the only person who jumps. It’s not brought out in too much detail, but I liked that we got to see that A isn’t an anomaly.
This is a book that could have failed if anyone else had written it, if the focus was too narrow (see my aforementioned misgiving), if A was too bland or too snarky or had too much personality—there’s a lot of what ifs. But Levithan manages to take a premise that’s complicated and raises too many questions and turns it into this beautiful novel and just…I can’t say enough. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Levithan uses this young narrator as a way to explore medical issues, mental illness, obesity, and the fundamental ways we connect with one another.
So good. I expected the ending, but in a way, didn't... but I won't talk about that here. ;)more