Saturday, June 22, 2013

Every Day review

Book talk:  Who would you be if you didn't have a family, or a skin color, or a gender?  If you took away all the things that make you you, what would remain?  A has to deal with th question every day.  Every day A wakes up in a new body.  One day A may be a drop-dead gorgeous woman who is always surrounded by people.  The next day A may be an overweight boy who everyone teases and ignores.  The body A inhabits may be dating someone, but A will always be single.  A doesn't have any friends or family.  No one knows A's secret, and that's how things must remain.  Despite the strange circumstances, A has fallen into a routine for surviving and tries to go unnoticed and live each day as they arrive.  Until A meets a girl who changes everything.  But how could anyone love someone who is a different person every day?  A is willing to risk everything to find out.

Rocks my socks: The premise of the novel requires a heaping helping of suspension of disbelief, but it allows Levithan the opportunity to explore issues in a unique way that he takes full advantage of.  Because A has the same consciousness every time it allows for comparisons that would not normally be feasible.  Everyone has heard of the expression about walking a mile in someone else's shoes.  Well, A lives every day in someone else's body.  Naturally this allows for a lot of exploration of identity politics but it also lends itself to descriptions of what it is like to be clinically depressed from the perspective of someone who usually is not, or what it feels like to be addicted to a substance.  Levithan chose each body A occupied carefully and there's so many wonderful characters that I can't even begin to name them all.

Rocks in my socks:  There's a side plot involving a boy that A possesses thinking he was possessed by the devil that I found ill-conceived and distracting.  For a book with a broad message of tolerance and acceptance there wasn't much balance provided for the highly negative and stereotypical portrayal of religion in the novel.  I don't think the added tension of this character was really necessary to keep the plot going.  If people want a fast-paced novel they're not going to pick this up anyway.  While I was willing to accept the lack of explanation for why A is the way A is, I was not okay with the way the plot threads related to the demonic possession were left completely loose and how they raised questions that were never close to answered.  Still, I loved the rest of the book so much that it more than makes up for these mild annoyances.

Every book its reader:  I'd give this to anyone looking for an unconventional romance or those who enjoy novels that explore contemporary issues.  If you're the type of person who overanalyzes everything and isn't willing to let go of your questions and go along for the ride, then this is not the book for you.  But if you can accept the premise and enjoy thought experiments, then this book will give you plenty to discuss and ponder.  The romance does get a bit heated at parts, so I'd save this for eighth grade and up.


David Levithan has his own site with a page for the book and both frequently asked questions and infrequently asked questions (including "Q: If a car is travelling faster than the speed of light, do the headlights still work? A: No. Which means the deer will not be subject to cliché if they stop before being hit."  I love this guy!)

You can see David Levithan talk about his book and read a passage in the following video:

Source: ebook from a public library

Every Day by David Levithan: buy it or check it out today!

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