Thursday, January 17, 2013

every day by David Levithan

A has no friends. No parents. No family. No possessions. No home, even. Because every day, A wakes up in the body of a different person. Every morning, a different bed. A different room. A different house. A different life. A is able to access each person's memory, enough to be able to get through the day without parents, friends, and teachers realizing this is not their child, not their friend, not their student. Because it is not. It's A. Inhabiting each person's body. Seeing the world through their eyes. Thinking with their brain. Speaking with their voice. It's a lonely existence—until, one day, it isn't.

A meets a girl named Rhiannon. And, in an instant, A falls for her, after a perfect day together. But when night falls, it's over. Because A can never be the same person twice. But yet, A can't stop thinking about her. She becomes A's reason for existing. So each day, in different bodies—of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, walks of life—A tries to get back to her. And convince her of their love. But can their love transcend such an obstacle?

My take: 4 looks
I thought this book was quite brilliant. An author of young adult books wants to address all teenage issues. What is he to do? He wants to address both sexes, the case of being a gay teen, every situation of home life...what is he to do? David Levithan solves the issue beautifully with this novel, where the main character, "A" wakes in a different body each day.

Because A arrives in a male body first, I immediately attached a gender to "him", but came to realize that A is both male and female, and at the same time neither male nor female. A keeps the essence of (and I will use "his" for simplicity) his identity, which has been formed regardless of the fact that his life changes daily, and has since the day he was born.

A is a drug addict, a drunk, a runner, obese, a religious zealot, a great student, a vicious girl, and a clinically depressed teen on the verge of suicide. The author did not explore teen pregnancy, physical abuse of any sort or have any characters experience sexual intercourse. Because Levithan is gay, he makes a point of making a large percentage of the characters gay, transgender or bisexual. I am not sure there are that many homosexuals in a small cross-section of society in a set age group, but I see his desire in making this mainstream. I felt it was a bit forced.

I am giving this four looks because the premise is brilliant and A's struggle with whatever situation in which he wakes, in whatever body he takes, he manages to retain his self. In a world awash in teen angst, this was a hit with me. He strives to preserve the person whom he is "borrowing" and has an innate respect for them, both emotionally and physically (that is the answer to no sex, since all of the characters are 16 years old).

The relationship with Rhiannon was interesting, although I felt it was secondary to the point of each person A fell into. It served to move the action forward and create a common thread throughout the story, but I was never invested in whether or not they overcame obstacles to become a successful couple. She was likable and the story plausible, but you know it's damned from the beginning.

I tried to find whether or not there will be a sequel to this, since there is quite a compelling protagonist 1/2 way through the book in the "reverend", who tells A that he is not unique. The fact that there may be more like him, and there may be an ability to remain in one person longer than a day is worth exploring.

Highly recommended.

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