Paperback, 372 pages
Expected publication: 2nd September 2013 by Electric Monkey
Shelves: better-than-expected, contemporary, favourites, if-i-were-a-boy, lasting-impression, lgbt-characters, magical-realism, mental-health, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, really-good, supernatural, title-appeal, young-adult
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Description via Goodreads:
Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There's never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that's fine - until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply.
Anybody interested in YA literature should be aware that, after the success of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, a lot of people decided to start reading more books by John Green and David Levithan, the two authors who worked together to write such a fantastic book. I was one of those people and have since read books by both Green and Levithan as individuals. Whilst Green is the author with a huge fan following, I personally prefer Levithan's writing. I think and hope that with the release of Every Day (and the UK re-releases of his previous novels) we will see a bigger following for him. I was so excited to be given this book to review and for a very good reason. Every Day really shows what Levithan can do as an author.
Every Day tells the story of A, a character who has no permanent body and awakes inside a different person each day. A has no constants in their life - I will refer to A is a male, but A actually has no gender, no permanent ethnicity or sexuality, no stable home or relationships. One day, A finds himself inhabiting the body of a boy called Justin, boyfriend to Rhiannon, a girl that A immediately connects with and feels something for. From this day onwards, A decides that he will do something that he's never done before and try to reach out to Rhiannon, revealing the soul, the personality behind the bodies that he inhabits. At points I did wonder what exactly had attracted A to Rhiannon, why he was risking himself by trying to reach out, but as they did start to communicate, I didn't have to wonder and saw how well they bonded together.
This story is told in days, each new day means that A is inside a new shell. I absolutely loved this idea, but I was a little worried that the story would feel a little 'jumpy'. In some ways, it was sort of like Levithan was writing lots of short stories with the bodies he used but, thankfully, no depth was lost at all as we were still given A within this body, a constant personality. I really enjoyed reading about the different bodies each day and getting an insight into the drastic changes between the lifestyles of people. Levithan covered a huge amount of ground with the people he portrayed - from drug addicts to suicidal girls to the struggle with obesity. A tries his best not to interfere with the bodies lives, but I was glad when he tried to push them towards positivity and help, if they needed it. Though some days only covered a few pages, no details or depth were lacking. As expected from Levithan, there were also a few LGBT issues raised, from both the lifestyles of the bodies that A inhabited and the issue of A being a genderless person. I have never read a book like this before and I think Levithan makes a clear point with it - it should be the personality of someone, not their gender or aesthetics, that you fall in love with - something that I definitely agree with.
The main story is A forming this special relationship with Rhiannon and trying to get past the boundaries of not having a permanent body. I thought that this was well executed, I actually loved the points of awkwardness, the uncertainty between A and Rhiannon - the imperfections made the book work even better than expected. I don't think that this book is predictable, I actually didn't even feel as though the characters truly knew what they were thinking at points - which sounds a little bad, but definitely isn't. It felt real. I don't want to give anything key away, but the end of the book was absolutely heart-shattering. I cried, then I raved about the amazing-ness of this book for days afterwards.
There is a sub-plot in this book which features a boy called Nathan, a boy who A has inhabited, who realises he has lost a day of his life. It's not clear to him, but he suspects that the devil had taken over his body, goes public with his story and seeks help from a priest. Unfortunately, for me, it was also one of the weakest parts of the book - I just didn't find it interesting, the characters didn't react as I thought they should and by the end, my interest between the two waned. Though I didn't particularly like this part of the book, it wasn't something that deterred me from the book, I was still compelled to read it!
A book that can make me feel that way that this one does is something that really deserves to be shared. It was a book that kept me wondering, it was unputdownable, a real page turner, but at the same time I didn't want to finish the book - it was so good! Every Day is sitting firmly on my list of favourite books and I hope that it will be the same for a lot of other readers. Pick this book up and you won't regret it. For one reason or another, I think that the majority of people will at least enjoy one aspect of this book, if not all. Highly recommended!