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Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012: Every Day is technically for young adults, but the premise of this unusual book goes much deeper. It asks a question that will resonate with the young and old alike: Can you truly love someone regardless of what they look like on the outside? The main character, A, wakes up every morning in a different body. Day to day, A can be male or female, any ethnicity, any size, and in any type of household. The only constant is that he (we'll go with that pronoun for convenience) is 16. A has been body jumping for as long as he can remember, and he has learned to not leave behind any trace of his presence--until he meets Rhiannon. For the first time in his life, A feels a true connection with another person. But can she love him back? Levithan handles their romance with great aplomb, building to a poignant and beautiful ending that took my breath away. --Caley Anderson
Every morning, [the book's main character] A wakes up in a different body and a different life. The novel Every Day starts on Day 5994 of A's life. For this story, I wanted to go back to a day in A's life before Every Day. Think of this as A recounting a few passing moments from his past.
Recently I was reading an interview in OUT magazine with Romy Madley Croft, the lead singer of the band the xx. Croft, talking about coming out, told the reporter, “If I was singing about a guy, I would probably be singing a similar kind of love song, really.” And I was struck that the same thing applied to my writing—especially with my new book, Every Day.
Every Day is about A, who wakes up each morning in a different body and a different life. It’s not giving anything away to say that in the first chapter, A falls in love with a girl name Rhiannon . . . and that their relationship is rather complicated.
So there I was—a gay man, writing from the point of view of a character who is neither gay or straight, male or female. A has no inherent race, no inherent religion. A has grown up without friends, without family. A is purely a self. Whereas I, in my culturally and societally constructed life, am not.
It should have been hard to write as A, but it wasn’t. Because I found that, no matter which body A was in, I was singing a similar kind of love song.
Ever since Boy Meets Boy, my first novel, was published, I’ve received thousands of letters and emails from readers. Some of the most interesting ones have been from people who were surprised that they, non-gay or non-male, identified so deeply with the love story. Love is love, more than one reader wrote to me. And I thought, yes, that’s it exactly. (I almost want to put it as a tip on my website, for all those students who write to me telling me their teacher has assigned them to identify the central theme in my work. Well, there it is. Love is love.)
In Every Day, I wanted to look at that theme from a variety of angles. I wanted to test that theme, and find its limitations. Where A starts in Every Day is where many of my other characters—my will grayson in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, for example—reach at the end of my other novels. That is, they recognize that in order to love and be loved, they must be true to themselves. A is always true in this way. Writing A made me realize that this is one of the more helpful questions you can ask about love—if I were truly myself, only myself, and not a gender, and not a sexual orientation, and not a race, and not any other external designation . . . what would I want? What would I do?
A gets to live this ideal. But Rhiannon, who doesn’t change bodies, is challenged to match it. This is the great conflict in the book, and informs one of the questions I posed to myself as I wrote it: Does love indeed conquer all? Or, in other words, does our world always allow love to be love?
Again, I come back to that phrase “a similar kind of love song.” I like that she doesn’t make them the same. I like that they’re similar. There are certainly different challenges, at some times, in some places, with a gay love story. I often try to illuminate that experience in my writing. But there are also the same universal emotions. Joy is joy. Fear is fear. Vulnerability is vulnerability. Just like music is music, writing is writing, and love is love.
Gr 9 Up-Levithan uses a straightforward hook-a 16-year-old soul named A wakes up in a different teenage body everyday-to explore identity. While the mechanics of A's ability are intermittently examined, they quickly become the backdrop to the myriad lives A inhabits and the strong identity he (or she as A does not identify with either gender) has created to survive this transient existence. His strong moral code is based on respect for the person whose life he disrupts and the consequences he doesn't have to face. That code is challenged when he falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon after spending a day in the body of her slacker boyfriend, Justin. Complexities arise when one of A's subsequent hosts, Nathan, has an awareness that he was possessed (presumably by the devil), and the story goes viral. Navigating a new body daily while attempting to build a relationship with Rhiannon and make sense of his condition leads to many philosophical quandaries that Levithan infuses with intelligence and poignancy while remaining nondidactic. Indeed, every step of the narrative feels real and will elicit a strong emotional response from readers and offer them plenty of fodder for speculation, especially regarding the nature of love.-Nicole Politi, The Ocean County Library, Lavallette, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.See all Editorial Reviews
When I was a kid (and even now) I used to wonder what life would be like as a different person. What would it be like to live as another? Read morePublished 19 hours ago by Amazon Customer
I wasn't expecting much but cliches, but as I started reading it struck me as a very contemporary story with a lot of maturity.
Great read! Really enjoyed it when he would be in other peoples bodies that had substance abuse problems - the body trying to take over his mind. Very interesting aspect.Published 3 days ago by T. Warwick
Fascinating book. I highly recommend it, actually I have been recommending it tall my friends. Interesting concept, well written, worth reading and thinking about what it is that... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Traveling29
Great book for both teens and adults. Levithan explores the paradox of the ageless, genderless inner self living within - and observing - the individual, time bound person we... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Emmamom
Amazing. Such a creative idea for the plot. I became so invested in each character. Truly, a great read for anyone.Published 12 days ago by AlyD