David Levithan is already a tested & proven author, having collaborated on the superb Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist with Rachel Cohn, Invisibility with Andrea Creamer & of course, on Will Grayson Will Grayson with the beloved John Green. He’s also written numerous novels by himself, & earned himself a reputation for liberal, intelligent & emotional storytelling. Every Day is all that & more, a unique & engaging read like nothing else…
A is used to change. A lot 16 year olds are going through a lot of changes, of course, but A has more than most. You see, every single day, A wakes up in a new body. It could be male, could be female. They could be gay or straight, black, white; A has no way of predicting or choosing whose life will be hijacked for that day. The host won’t remember tomorrow, & while A can access all of their memories to make it through the day, it’s ultimately still A inside. This is how it’s always been; always someone the same age, & always the same vague geographical location, but otherwise a completely random life. Every Single Day. When A wakes up in the body of Justin though, the rules of non-interference start to blur, because of her: Rhiannon, Justin’s girlfriend. A falls immediately & inescapably in love, but realises just how difficult a relationship with someone will be. A is sure it’s meant to be, & so tells Rhiannon everything… She feels the same, but can she escape the ever changing packaging that A comes in? Can the two of them ever be happy & normal when one of them only steals a life for one day? When one of A’s previous hosts appears in the local media though, claiming of demonic possession, A’s life starts to get even harder.
Every Day is like nothing else I’ve ever read. Bursting with power, humour & romance, as well as darkness & drama, the whole book is gripping & evocative. A is a wonder of a protagonist, open-minded, deeply moral & with a childlike, almost naive sense of right & wrong. Inhabiting multiple bodies allows David Levithan to deal with lots of complex issues faced by people, but all through the eyes of the same impartial, compassionate character. Mental Health, Depression, Obesity, Friendship & Loss are all tackled at one stage or another, & because of A’s unique lifestyle, we get a flash of understanding with each one. The difference though, where A is almost childlike in that understanding, is because they only inhabit the body for 24 hours; their perception of these difficulties is skewed. Whilst A has a broad range of experiences from life, they lack the ability to develop over time, to live with abusive parents, with crippling depression or losing a loved one. This makes A an intelligent, even wise character, but yet still fragile, with so much to learn about the world. Seeing the world through this strange kaleidoscope is a fascinating view on life, & really shines a spotlight on the great similarities between humans. Using this, Levithan is able to really show the stupidity of judging individuals based on race, sexuality or gender, & does so in a way that is totally inescapable. You can’t argue against it, because it’s clear on the page, & that makes Every Day such an important novel for teenagers, who are forming thoughts & prejudices that will last their entire lives. Rhiannon is also a superbly writing character, full of heart tempered by caution & self-doubt. Whilst her love for A is very real, she’s more than the usual swooning teen girl that irritates me so much. Rhiannon understands that they can’t work, she knows how unfair it is on the people who A hijacks, disrupting their lives just to be with her, & this compassion for strangers is what makes her so lovable, as well as making her inner-struggle so difficult to read. She cares, so we as readers care for her as she tries to juggle what is right with what her heart wants.
The unique style of Every Day creates a strange sense of time. Some days, A will inhabit the body of someone who can’t leave the house, & those days last only one page. But this jumping from life to life, all with same narrator, really helps bring the problems people face all around us to the forefront of the reader’s mind. They paint them in a frank, honest way that can’t be ignored, & that alone makes this book a total gem. David Levithan manages to work the superb sub-story about Nathan in though, the ex-host who claims demonic possession to explain A’s actions. This adds a level of darkness to A’s existence, & raises some serious moral & philosophical questions about the kind of existence lead. If it wasn’t for such a strong moral compass, what would stop A from being the Devil? From ruining a different live every single day? It does make the reader think about the root of morality, especially because A had no consistent upbringing to help shape that strong sense of right & wrong. It’s a bleak existence though, & that creeps into some of A’s views & outlooks on life, & towards the end of the book, really becomes a major tone in the narrative style. A is prone to extremes of moods, shaped by environment & body, & this reflects in the writing style from day to day, showcasing David Levithan’s superb talent for understanding emotion & inner conflict.
There’s so much I could praise about this book, but the best way to sum it up is to say this: Every Day is important. It’s touching, eye-opening & soul-searching & utterly breathtaking. A complete triumph.
Thanks for Reading, as always!