Every Day by David Levithan

By | 16 November 2012 | 2 Responses

Every Day by David LevithanAn insightful teen novel with a touch of drama. It’s a little stalkerish, but you might be able to put that down to teenage hormones.

A is a teenager who wakes up every day in a different body. He has lived his life like this since he can remember and has never had it any other way. One day, he wakes up in the body of Justin, who is dating Rhiannon. A falls in love with Rhiannon, which is seemingly hopeless as every day he wakes up as someone else. How can he make this work?

This was an insightful book. Every day, as A wakes up in someone else’s body, we get to see their lives, whether they be mundane, whiny, dramatic or funny. Author David Levithan lets us get into each teenager’s head and shows us that, deep down inside, everyone has pretty similar concerns—trying to get through every day and making the best of what they have. I liked the descriptions, the different characters he woke up in and the movement from day to day.

A is really, really, really in love with Rhiannon and faces a few challenges. He’s trying to see her and communicate as often as they can. He’s also trying to get her to realise that she deserves more than what she gets from Justin (he’s a dickhead) and make her fall in love with him. He’s a different person everyday, and somehow he has to maintain his own sense of self, and show her that it’s this self, this person, who loves her and can treat her well. I felt that Levithan did a good job of showing this and how A faced his own struggles of belonging. He started out as a really secure person—this is his life, it’s never been anything else—and then he begins to question it, to question why and what he can do to make this weird relationship work.

There are a few things I didn’t like. For some reason, A only wakes up in teens in a certain geographic region. I suppose this was for purposes of the story, but that didn’t make sense to me. If you wake up in different bodies all the time, shouldn’t it be possible for you to wake up anywhere in the world? I suppose it was easier for the character—language skills are the hardest to access—and it solved the issue of how he would get to Rhiannon each time.

Another thing I didn’t like was at some point A got a bit obsessive and Twilight-kind creepy. I get that he was in love and that he was just trying to be with her, and that he was sorry whenever he had to ‘use’ a body he was in to make his relationship with Rhiannon work, but at some point it got a bit crazy compulsive.

Yay or nay?

This is a good read if you like insightful teen novels with a touch of drama. Sometimes I wanted the protagonist to calm down, but maybe we can chalk it up to  his hormones.

Who might enjoy it: Readers who like unusual coming of age romances

Who might not enjoy it: Readers who can’t handle a little cray-cray

Title: Every Day (excerpt)
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Text Publishing

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Wandergurl

Wandergurl is a sometime traveller who spends her daylight hours making sure that things go the way they're supposed to with minimum bureaucracy (don't ask!). A firm believer that thirty is the new twenty, she will probably never look her age (or act it!). An enthusiastic football supporter (that would be soccer to you) she will get up at odd hours to watch a game, and of course it's not just because the players are hot. She loves history, geography and is pretty good at trivia, thanks to her propensity to remember random bits of celebrity gossip. When not reading or travelling, she can be found indulging in her other passion -- eating -- and can be found at Wake up and smell the coffee.

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2 comments »

  1. Anna Cowan

    I really loved this book (not the ending so much). I’m interested in gender and the performance of gender, and I can’t think of a better premise to explore it. (I found the relationship at the end with the girl A wakes up in who identifies as male so moving.) 

    I find it interesting that you refer to A as “he”. I find myself doing it, too – and the friend I lent the book to did it as well. A is without gender, but because we first see A in a boy’s body and A’s in love with a girl A feels male. That in itself says a lot about gender and our expectations. See? Brilliant premise :-).

    I was really impressed with the way A felt real. A understood life the way A had experienced it. A had a childhood same as anyone else, it just functioned differently.

    I was disappointed that the threatening elements in the book didn’t really go anywhere and I didn’t feel like A was in a different place at the end of the book to the beginning. But otherwise loved it. Levithan’s ability to create characters and the whole of their world in just a couple of pages is crazy-amazing.  

  2. wandergurl

    @Anna I just realised what you meant about the “He” when you pointed it out. A is genderless! I guess I just defaulted to a “He” because that’s what A was when “He” met Rhiannon. I never thought about that before.
    I was also disappointed with the threatening elements. When that first started, I thought, this will come to no good, I had a bad feeling about it, then when it came to head I felt that it kind of didn’t really fit and suddenly it was like sequel bait. (Though I think the book should just be a stand alone.) I just didn’t feel the threatening bits were as important as the general story of A finding him/herself in someone else everyday.

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