Every Day – David Levithan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy
Summary: A lives a very unusual life: he doesn’t have a physical body, and every day, he wakes up in someone else’s body. While this doesn’t give A any sense of stability, he has accepted his fate and does his best to live his host’s life. All of that changes when he wakes up as a boy named Justin and falls in love with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. Will he be able to act upon these feelings?
Review: I have heard a lot of positive buzz surrounding Every Day, so I went into this with all of the expectations. All of them! Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting, simply because I couldn’t pull myself away.
One of the most compelling parts of Every Day was definitely the concept. I tend to think about really strange things throughout the day, and one of the things I’ve given a lot of thought to is what it would be like to wake up in someone else’s body. This phenomenon was explored in such an interesting way in Every Day, and I was eager to see who A would be next. I really liked that A was easily able to pick up on cues that alerted him to what the expectations were in his host body, and it was great that he didn’t try to stray too far from what the person he was inhabiting would normally do, until he meant Rihannon.
I’m referring to A as “he” here, but it’s only for simplicity’s sake (and the fact that his first host was male), as our narrator’s gender was never revealed. I really liked that A didn’t have stereotypical male or female traits, but was just a well-rounded human being. Every Day brought up interesting ideas about gender being a social construct, especially as it relates to being in love and just being human, and it was so well-done. I wish gender discussions were taken on by more authors.
Speaking of love, A quickly fell in love with Rhiannon, and their feelings seemed so sweet and genuine. Rhiannon’s boyfriend, Justin, was not a good match for her, and when A was Justin, it was easy to see why. The relationship with Rhiannon also played into the whole “why does gender even matter” concept, and it was quite effective in its execution.
Inhabiting other people’s bodies brings up many ethical dilemmas, of course, and Levithan handled these in a rather deft way. For example, when A would go out of his way to see Rhiannon, was that really the right thing to do, since he was living in someone else’s body? This was especially apparent with a character named Nathan, and I loved how things played out with that storyline. In the same vein, when A found out that there may be a way to inhabit just one body, would it be okay to sacrifice someone else’s life for his own?
Every Day was a wonderful, unique read that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. If you enjoy contemporary books with a fantastical twist and gender bending, definitely give it a try!
Read-alike: Slide – Jill Hathaway