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Every You, Every Me Hardcover – September 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 440L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375860983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375860980
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, October 2011
“Between us, we were supposed to know you,” says the narrator of this poignant novel. The “you” he addresses there is a girl named Ariel, whose lacerating absence is keenly felt; the “us” is narrator Evan, who loved her beyond anything but couldn’t have her to himself, and Jack, Ariel’s boyfriend, to whom Evan turns after Ariel’s departure. Evan narrates in tense, jagged sentences that bleed with raw emotion as he fights for control, often crossing out the most revealing utterances as he tips into stream of consciousness, and reveals piece by piece that the very troubled Ariel attempted to kill herself. Already haunted by guilt and grief, Evan is further tormented by the photographs someone has been strategically leaving for him, photographs that shadow his actions with Ariel and suggest there was someone in Ariel’s life about whom he knew nothing. Levithan creates an immersive emotional experience here, with Evan easily recognizable as the boy who was already settling for being a friend when he ached to be more. The mystery is poetically enigmatic, with the reproduced pictures tantalizingly ambiguous even as they fit into the narrative; on the way, however, there are other mysteries readers will be exploring, piecing together the answer to questions such as “What happened to Ariel?” and “Is this all in Evan’s mind?” The book manages to imbue a not-uncommon teen crisis and dynamic with the sharp significance of the rare, and the slight artifice of its approach will only enhance the draw of what is undoubtedly the Emo Book of the Year. DS

About the Author

David Levithan has taken at least one photograph every day for the past ten years. However, he is much better known for his novels, which include Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Are We There Yet?, Wide Awake, Love is the Higher Law, and (with John Green) Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He’s written three books with Rachel Cohn as well: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. In truth, though, he probably spends more time wandering around with his camera than he does sitting at his computer writing. He particularly loves taking pictures of passersby, and New York City is perfect for that. He met Jonathan Farmer because of Jonathan’s likeness to a young Walt Whitman.
 
Jonathan Farmer, to this very day, has not, cannot, and may never decide just what it is he wants to be when he grows up. Once, he thought he had found the perfect descriptor—"Naturalist"—but David said that just made him sound like a botanist . . . or a nudist. Since then, Jonathan has narrowed it down to: photographer, performer, writer, director, and teacher. He spent his early years exploring the mysterious forests of New Hampshire. But now, since moving to Brooklyn, NY, Jonathan has been growing to love the hustle and bustle of the city. From time to time, though, you might catch him longing for the sweet smell of the pines. Visit Jonathan at jwfarmer.com.

More About the Author

I find it downright baffling to write about myself, which is why I'm considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio and to update it now and then. The factual approach (born '72, Brown '94, first book '03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence - give or take a few poems - and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction I've ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. I am evangelical in my musical beliefs.

Luckily, I am much happier talking about my books than I am talking about myself. My first novel, Boy Meets Boy, started as a story I wrote for my friends for Valentine's Day (something I've done for the past twenty-two years and counting) and turned itself into a teen novel. When not writing during spare hours on weekends, I am editorial director at Scholastic, and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature. (Check it out at www.thisispush.com.)

With Boy Meets Boy, I basically set out to write the book that I dreamed of getting as an editor - a book about gay teens that doesn't conform to the old norms about gay teens in literature (i.e. it has to be about a gay uncle, or a teen who gets beaten up for being gay, or about outcasts who come out and find they're still outcasts, albeit outcasts with their outcastedness in common.) I'm often asked if the book is a work of fantasy or a work of reality, and the answer is right down the middle - it's about where we're going, and where we should be. Of Boy Meets Boy, the reviewer at Booklist wrote: "In its blithe acceptance and celebration of human differences, this is arguably the most important gay novel since Annie on My Mind and seems to represent a revolution in the publishing of gay-themed books for adolescents" - which pretty much blew me away when I read it. Viva la revolution!

My second book, The Realm of Possibility, is about twenty teens who all go to the same high school, and how their lives interconnect. Each part is written in its own style, and I'm hoping they all add up to a novel that conveys all the randomness and intersection that goes on in our lives - two things I'm incredibly fascinated by. The book is written in both poetry and linebroken prose - something I never dreamed I would write. But I was inspired by writers such as Virginia Euwer Wolff, Billy Merrell, Eireann Corrigan, and Marie Howe to try it. It is often said that reading is the greatest inspiration to writing, and this is definitely the case for me.

My third novel, Are We There Yet?, is about two brothers who are tricked into taking a trip to Italy together. The natural questions to ask when faced with this summary are: (a) Do you have a brother? (Yes.); (b) Is he the brother in the book? (He's neither brother in the book.); (c) Have you been to Italy? (Yes.); (d) Which city was your favorite? (Venice.); (e) Is this based on your trip there? (The sights are, but the story isn't; the whole time I was there, I took notes in my notebook, not knowing exactly what they'd be for.)

Marly's Ghost, my fourth novel, is a Valentine's Day retelling of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by my friend Brian Selznick. To write it, I went through A Christmas Carol and remixed it - took phrases and themes and created a new version, centering around a boy named Ben whose girlfriend, Marly, has just died. When he looks like he's giving up on life, Marly reappears in ghost form - and sends some other ghosts to get him to embrace life again. It was a hard book to write - it's about both love and grief, two very difficult things to capture truthfully. But I genuinely don't see any reason to write a book if it doesn't feel like a challenge.

My next book came unexpectedly. My friend Rachel Cohn proposed that we write a back-and-forth novel, with her writing from a girl's perspective and me writing from a boy's. The result is Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a kick- butt love story that we wrote over a summer without really planning it out. It just happened, and it was one of the best writing experiences I ever had. It has even been bought for the movies - stay tuned on that front.

A different kind of collaboration is The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities, an anthology I co-edited with my best friend Billy Merrell. It contains true stories from LGBTQ writers under the age of 23, and the Lambda Award for Best LBGTQ Children's/Teen Book.

Other anthologies I've edited or co-edited include: 21 Proms, a collection of prom stories by YA authors, co-edited with Daniel Ehrenhaft; Friends, an anthology of middle-grade friendship stories, co-edited with Ann M. Martin; and three PUSH anthologies of the best young writers and artists in America: You Are Here, This Is Now (2002), Where We Are, What We See (2005), We Are Quiet, We Are Loud (2008). Another PUSH anthology is This is PUSH, featuring new work from all of the authors who've written for PUSH.

My sixth novel, Wide Awake, starts with the election of the first gay Jewish president, and is about two boyfriends who must go to Kansas when the election results are threatened. In many ways, it's a "sequel in spirit" to Boy Meets Boy, since it's about many of the same things - love, friendship tolerance, and taking a stand for what you believe in. It was written right after the 2004 election, and published right before the 2006 election, which made me hope that a gay Jewish president was a closer reality than I might have thought. (No, I have no intention to run. But if you read the book now, it's sometimes how eerie how it echoes the 2008 race.)

My second collaboration with Rachel Cohn, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, was inspired by a phrase my best friend Nick and I came up with after he moved to New York City. It's about a straight girl and a gay boy who've been best friends forever . . . but have to deal with a lot of things that have gone unsaid after the boy (Ely) kisses the girl's (Naomi's) boyfriend. This time, Rachel and I decided to rotate the point of view between a number of characters, not just the titular two. The result was harder to write, but just as fun to create.

How They Met, and Other Stories, was published in 2008, which happened to be the twentieth anniversary of my Valentine Story tradition. It contains a few stories I wrote in high school and college, and more that I wrote more recently, some for anthologies, and some just for myself and my friends.

The first series I ever worked on (as a writer) is Likely Story, which I wrote with two of my friends, Chris Van Etten and David Ozanich, under the pen name David Van Etten. Chris and David both have experience working on soap operas, and had the idea for a TV show about the daughter of a soap opera diva who ends up running a soap opera of her own. I know nothing about writing a TV show, so I said, "Hey, that would be fun to write as a series of books, too!" And, voila!, Likely Story was born. It was a blast to write, and the main character, Mallory, is one of my favorites yet.

In 2009, Knopf published Love is the Higher Law. It's the story of three teenagers in New York on 9/11, and how their lives intertwine in the days and weeks and months that follow. I know this sounds grim, but it's really the story of things coming together even as it feels like the world is falling apart -- because that's how it felt to be in New York at that time, both tragic because of the events that happened and magical in the way that everyone became their better selves in the face of it. It's a love story between friends, a love story for a city, and a love story for love itself, and the way it can get us through things, however daunting or shocking they may be. Or at least that's what I aimed for. I hope you'll read it and let me know if I got there.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson started, in many ways, back in college, when I kept being mistaken for another student named David Leventhal. He was a beautiful dancer; I was not. So people would continually come up to me and say things like, "I saw you on stage last night - who would have thought you could be so graceful?" And I'd have to say, "Um...that wasn't me." Our paths finally crossed at the end of school, and we became best friends when we both moved to New York City - him to dance, me to edit and write. Fast forward ten years or so - I had the idea to write a book about two boys with the same name, and called my friend John Green about it. He said yes on the spot, and it took us five years from first conversation to publication day. The result? A novel about identity, love, and what it's like to make a musical out of your own life. You know, the universal themes.

My third novel with Rachel Cohn, called Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, came out in October 2010. It's a romantic cat-and-mouse chase through New York, with a special shoutout to The Strand, a bookstore I am particularly fond of.

The Lover's Dictionary, my first novel about post-teenagers, was published by FSG at the start of 2011. It's the story of a relationship told entirely in dictionary form. Once again, this started out as a Valentine's Day story, and grew from there. I'd often been asked if it would be different to write about adults than it is to write about teens, and I learned that, no, there isn't any difference. A story is a story. And when I write, I'm not thinking of audience -- just of being true to the story. My hope is Lover's Dictionary is as honest as I can be,

Upcoming? A different kind of YA collaboration for me -- a novel I wrote based on photographs my friend Jonathan Farmer gave me. I never knew which photo would come next, and he never knew what I was writing. The result is a very strange, somewhat dark, portrait of a boy on the verge of a complete breakdown. It's called Every You, Every Me, and it will be published in fall 2011.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

(What's this?)
#61 in Books > Teens
#61 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

When I had completed reading this novel, I felt cheated out of the time that I had put into it; there was no definite conclusion.
ĴĴ
As mentioned above, It's all part of Evan's thoughts which make you wonder just how much of what he says and doesn't say is truth, or at least more his truth.
L. Reeves
The way the book was written with photographs as an inherent part of the story was intriguing, but the actual plot and writing -- not so much.
Lois Lain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine Baggenstos on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Every You, Every Me surprised me, but in a good way. I'd never read a book with photographs before this one, at least, not a book where the photographs are an integral part of the story, so I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Every You, Every Me should have been confusing. There are strikethroughs throughout the story of everything from Evan's thoughts to fake conversation. You would think that something like that may trip you up and having you rereading things just to make sure you know what's going on, but I never found myself confused. Evan's thoughts can also go from past to present with absolutely no transition at all, but it's written in such a way that you know exactly what's going on.

The thriller/mystery aspect was also done really well. As I was reading I had thoughts of what may have happened and what may be going on, but I could never say for sure until Levithan spelled it out for me. I love the subject this takes on. Not just the missing friend, but also the...well, I'll let you read to find that one out. It's not something I see very often in books and I'm pretty sure I've never personally read anything about it.

Final Thoughts: This was a good, quick read. It's definitely worth taking a look into if you've never read anything with photographs before. Heck, you should pick it up even if you think you hate books with photographs in them because, well, look at the author. Seriously though, Every You, Every Me exceeded all my expectations and had me flipping pages to find out what would happen next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Liolania on January 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a fellow writer, I can appreciate this book from that perspective, as I always strive for authenticity, if I weren't an author myself, I'm not sure I would enjoy this book quite as much, as I more enjoyed it for the literary approach than anything else. It also should be noted that I read a ARC edition, so the photos were not in full color like the one you will buy or find at your library. :)

I actually tend to write in a very stream,-of-consciousness style myself, so this doesn't bother me, and I really loved the idea of revolving a story around pictures that someone else took and gave to you (whether original or not). The crossed-out text did not bother me, in a way, it added to the authenticity, as when I was a teenager and I journaled, I did the EXACT same thing because I was very upset sometimes at things I wrote, I even tore pages out sometimes actually, and ripped them to tiny little pieces. So, in terms of authenticity, I think this book is spot on. The emotions are raw, and Evan definitely feels like a real person, whether or not he is likeable is another matter, but he is definitely authentic. I don't feel its always necessary to like a main character, do you like everyone you meet in real life? No. But as long as you can connect to them on an emotional level, for me, is what matters.

This may or may not cut it for you, but I found the mystery surrounding the Ariel very intriguing (even if at times obvious) and it got me interested in reading his other books, as this is my first Levithan book.

This is targeted at teens, so its not likely their going to enjoy it for its literary aspects, and its probably more than a little too angsty for some adults taste. As for the absence of adults in the book, I have found it to be the case, that, in general, teens think more of themselves or their crush than of their parents, so I'm not surprised they weren't mentioned much.

God Bless ~Amy
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Evan's best friend is Ariel.
Evan's only friend is Ariel.
Ariel is gone.

But what happened to Ariel? And who is sending photographs of Ariel (and other people, initially unidentified) to Evan?

David Levithan's novel Every You, Every Me incorporates photographs by Jonathan Farmer. While Evan scrutinizes each and every picture and note he receives, it is worth remembering the tagline on the cover of the book: "A picture is worth a thousand lies." Readers have more than one mystery to figure out here. Evan's first-person narration is mostly directed to Ariel, addressing her from the get-go, using "you" frequently and really pulling you into his story and in his thoughts - but do you think he's a reliable narrator, and do you think he had something to do with Ariel's departure? Your opinion may change from chapter to chapter as more backstory is detailed, and it may change again when the truth is finally revealed in the final chapter.

Kudos, David Levithan, for incorporating Zeno's dichotomy paradox into your story. Thank you.

My favorite Farmer photo in this book appears on page 228 - but don't you dare turn to that page until you've read pages 1 through 227. It won't mean as much if you look ahead.

If you like Every You, Every Me, you should also read As Simple As Snow by Gregory Gallaway, which also employs a teenaged male narrator, a missing-in-action vivacious female friend, and mysterious elements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen A. Oconnor on December 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
OK, so this book wasn't horrible....I know MANY people who Love David Levithan so I know his writing is nowhere near bad....but it just isn't for me.

This book was very interesting with the photos that were included and with the way the story was written also. There were a lot of very short chapters and then with the pictures, it made for a quick read.

I caught on pretty quickly what was going on and I thought the whole "I know what you did" thing was great....until, the "I know what you did" thing really wasn't a big deal at all.

Then towards the end I thought there was going to be a cool psychological twist, but that didn't happen either.

I was disappointed with the ending immensly. By the way the story is written you can tell that the main character is having some deep issues dealing with the loss of his best friend. This is why I thought there was going to be a psychological twist to it.

I don't know. Just wasn't exciting. I felt like I got led on to only be let down at the very end.
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