Every Day, David Levithan

Amazing cover! Mediocre content.

Hooray! Something new! 

Unfortunately, this book gets a mixed review. Let me explain: I was glued to its pages, I was in love with the concept, but in the end, I didn’t like Every Day. This annoys me, because David Levithan is a good writer. No, actually he’s a Really Good Writer…Every Day just wasn’t his day.

First things first: the plot. “A” is a sixteen year old who possesses a different body every day. Instead of having a body of A’s own, A hops, every day, from one sixteen-year-old’s body to another. A then lives out that person’s day, able to access their memories and help out with their daily to-do list. How did A get this way? Can A ever put a stop to it? It’s totally unclear and unexplained, but that’s really the least of my complaints about this book. I’ll also mention that this is a love story, and of course there’s a girl, and her name is (of course!) Rhiannon. She’s the dream girl who totally gets A, despite her initial trouble in seeing A for who A really is, given that A’s appearance/race/gender/locale changes every day.

Herein lies the main problem I had with the book. A’s landing in different bodies – be they obese, insanely good-looking, clinically depressed, drug-addicted, transsexual – meant each day presented a “lesson”. While all this is fine and good, and though I agree that YA novels should be teaching their reader something, I didn’t appreciate Levithan’s approach. Overall, the novel had a really didactic overtone that sort of ruined the entertainment factor.

But before I turn this into a complain-fest (which I’ll leave to someone more articulate), I should mention what I definitely LIKED about this book: the question of what makes us who we are. So much of who we are is also attached to our bodies, which we generally take for granted. Take gender, race, language, size, height, looks, even where we live out of the question, and it suddenly becomes a lot harder to answer the perennial toughie: who am I? Without bodies, we are pretty much boiled down to nothing but our beliefs, subsequent actions, and our relationships with others. Therefore I think this book poses an important “what-if” for its teen and past-teen readers to ponder.

Is this an interesting read? Yes, interesting, in all the vague glory of that word! Will you finish it quickly? Yes, it is very likely that you can finish it in a day. But DO YOU WANT TO? That is the question. To me, it seems as though half of Every Day’s readers love it, while the other half are screaming out in frustration. My suggestion? Should you chance it and end up wanting a good discussion post-read (because this book demands debriefing of some sort), I recommend this (one-star) review. Sometimes an otherwise wildly popular story should receive some thoughtful criticism. There are some potentially dangerous/damaging implications that come from this novel, and I think this review tackles them well.

As always, feel free to have your say in the comments section!

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One response

  1. Pingback: Light and Fun Summer Reading | A Novel Thing

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