Saturday, June 08, 2013

Review: Every Day

Every Day is a young adult romance. If there's ever a transparent voice, David Levithan has achieved it in this novel. The book reads effortlessly, transparently, and the pace is such that you'll turn the page hurriedly, breathlessly, in search of what happens next.

The premise of the book is straightforward: the protagonist, A, wakes up every day in a different body. He can access the body's memories, but has no connection to the emotions. He's always woken up in a body that's appropriate for him chronologically (at the start of the novel he is 16). He's learned to deal with this daily switch and has (surprisingly) evolved rules to live by. This changes when he wakes up in Justin's body and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. He doesn't believe that Justin treats Rhiannon very well, and so for his one day in Justin's body he treats Rhiannon nicely. Unfortunately, the result is that A falls in love with Rhiannon, and this knocks his previous equilibrium off-kilter.

One of the best things about this novel is that Levithan explores lots of different situations that A wakes up in. A is alternatively male, female, straight, gay, Black, White, Asian, nerdy, athletic, drug-addicted, suicidal, etc. Levithan spans the gamut of the teen experience. While some of A's statements seem heavy-handedly politically correct, I've met my fair share of teens who sound like that so it's not jarring.

If the book does hit a false not, it's in the ending. For me, the ending is either a blatantly obvious setup for a sequel, or the author screwed up and makes A's character deliberately weaker by introducing a subplot that is left unresolved and yet drives his decision to resolve the situation. While the book does clearly standalone, without a sequel I feel that Levithan diluted the strength of the ending for no good reason.

Nevertheless, this is one of the better novels I've read in a while and a relentlessly compelling read.  Recommended.
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