book review / sam

Every Day by David Levithan

For A, every day brings something new. A new home, a new family, a new body.

In Every Day by well known young adult author David Levithan, every morning A wakes up in the body of someone the same age. I would say the similarities would end there but age is the only thing that defines A. It’s been like this since A was born; A never remembers anything other than bouncing from body to body. Like Cinderella at the end of the ball, at midnight he jumps again – into the next body that will play host for the day. Just one day. Every time it’s just one, single day.

Over the years A develops a few little tricks to get by. Never get too attached to anyone. Try not to interfere with the person’s life as much as possible. Avoid dangerous sports and activities. Every day A emails various little tidbits to a personal email and keeps track of things worth remembering.

But for the most part, A drifts along.

Until he meets Rhiannon. He wakes up in her jerk of a boyfriend’s body and for some reason decides to give them a perfect day. They skip school and drive to the beach and are just together. It’s something A has never really had before and something A longs to have again. With her.

A begins to do whatever to see her again; using the bodies closest to her to visit and even hijacking bodies from further and further away. At first it’s just to see her again but eventually it becomes too much and A has to tell her the truth. The whole truth. But what does that mean for them? Rhiannon and A begin to question whether they can have a real relationship. They struggle with problems both in their own lives and sometimes even in the lives of A’s hosts.

Even though there is a definiteness to A and A’s personality, it’s easy to understand Rhiannon’s struggles with the situation. She comes to love A but who is A really? A jumps from girl bodies to boy bodies indiscriminately and has never identified as any gender. Similarly, A jumps from attractive bodies to unattractive ones on a whim. A is not someone she’ll ever be able to bring home to her parents. A is not someone she can ever introduced to her friends. There’s no normalcy or future in such a relationship and yet they continue to meet each other. Black, white, male, female, fat, thin. A always sees Rhiannon as who she is but she can’t always see A the same way.

People say love can conquer everything but just how far can love go?

I liked Every Day a lot more than I thought I would. Supernatural love stories a dime a dozen and every time I pick up something even remotely abnormal and featuring romance I want to face plam. I know that not everything is a Twilight clone but c’mon. A lot of things are. Every Day is probably the furthest you can get from that atrocious series.

Granted, it has a lot of the hallmarks of young adult romance. A is sixteen, Rhiannon is sixteen. Even though A has gone through all these years developing a moral code and means of living others’ lives, for some unexplained reason A is willing to throw it all to the wind for her. I get it – there’s “something” about her.

And in the case of this book I guess that’s all right. I would have liked Levithan to build up more of a reason but sometimes with teenagers that’s the only reason. Something.

What I loved most about the book, though, as what A loves most: Rhiannon. But what I like about her is not her character but the honesty with which she is portrayed. Her frustrations are understandable, relateable. Her boyfriend is a jerk but at least he’s a real person. He’s there all the time; he’s safe. What is A? Every day A is someone else. Even though she knows who he is deep down – or thinks she does – how do you love someone who is constantly leaving and changing? Geographically, A only jumps bodies within maybe four hours of the last body. Which is at least convenient. Sometimes. Not always for his host unfortunately. Which also leads A into some trouble, too.

Ultimately, the book was certainly worth the read. And it ended in a way I hadn’t really expected. I’ll admit it; I cried. Briefly. But I did cry when I realized what was happening. The ending left a lot of questions and many things were unanswered – particularly how A existed in the first place and whether there are others out there – but really, those questions weren’t the point of the book. The point as the boundaries of love and whether we can see a person for who they are and not what they look like from day to day.

And while I don’t know if you come away from this book with any actual answer you do find yourself wondering.

Final Score: B+

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