by David Levithan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: August 28, 2012
Ages: 12 & up
Every once in awhile, a novel comes along that defies expectation. I have never read a book by David Levithan. I’ve heard of it. Friends have recommended him. Yet, I remained stubborn (why? I don’t know!) and didn’t read anything by him. Even after he wrote a book with one of my favorite writers; Will Grayson & Will Grayson with John Green.
I am such a fool.
I happened to see Every Day on NetGalley. The premise sounded so unique, so different, and so hard to pull off. A person waking up, every day, in a different body? Irregardless of sex, race, only age? I had to see if he pulled it off.
A, our main character’s name is A, has no one. No friends, no family, nobody. He wakes up every day in a different 16-year-old body and wears it for the day. A different house, a different body, different friends, schools, lives. Every morning he is someone else. Male, female, white, black, Latino, rich, poor, smart, stupid, hooked on drugs, ready to kill themselves. It’s always different. A is used to this, A gets along fine, breezing through different lives, trying not to make too much of an impact, A doesn’t want anyone to notice. No one does notice.
But then A meets a girl.
A’s life will never be the same. It takes less than a day for A to fall in love with Rhiannon. For the first time, A wants to see someone again. A wants to talk to someone again. A wants to be with someone again. A can’t stop thinking about her, can’t stop wanting to see her again, and can’t stop wanting to talk to her again.
Does A find a way? It feels like an impossible situation. How does A convince this girl, every day, that even though the shell is different, A is the same underneath. How does A convince her to take a chance? How do you talk about A without using pronouns?
It’s a mystery, best found out by reading the book.
As I was saying, I was a fool. In the wrong hands, this book could have been a hot mess. But David Levithan obviously knows what he’s doing. There are so many things Levithan deals with in this novel; sex, race, attraction, how you can’t pick who you love, living, dying, hate, love…. This story. It is ambitious. This book made me think, it made me feel, it made me shake my head in wonder. Levithan not only pulls it off, he pulls it off so beautifully. His writing is gorgeous! And addictive. I think I’ll go out and buy everything he’s ever written now and I will never doubt him again.
I want to give her a good day. Just one good day. I have wandered for so long without any sense of purpose, and now this ephemeral purpose has been give to me-it feels like it was been give to me. I only have a day to give-so why can’t it be a good one? Why can’t it be a shared one? Why can’t I take the music of the moment and see how long it can last? The rules are erasable. I can’t take this. I can give this.
There is a part of childhood that is childish, and a part that is sacred. Suddenly we are touching the sacred part-running to the shoreline, feeling the first cold burst of water on our ankles, reaching into the tide to catch at shells before they ebb away from our fingers. We have returned to a world that is capable of glistening, and we are wading deeper within it. We stretch our arms wide, as if we are embracing the wind. She splashes me mischievously and I mount a counterattack. Our pants, our shirts get wet, but we don’t care. We are carefree.
What is it about the moment you call in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity? I suddenly realize why people believe in deja vu, why people believe they’ve lived past lives, because there is no way the years I’ve spent on this earth could possibly encapsulate what I’m feeling. The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations-all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself have crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.
I love that last one. I have so many more that I could share. I don’t think I’ve marked up a book like this in a long time. Such a beautiful book. In so many ways. I hope you’ll read it.