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Every Day Paperback – September 10, 2013
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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
Amazon Exclusive: Day 5909, a Story by Author David Levithan
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.
An Essay from the Author: A Similar Kind of Love Song
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.
From School Library Journal
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. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Don't get me wrong, this was a very promising book. The very beginning of this book, about the first chapter, reel the reader into the story because, at first, the characters are funny and do have some personality. But then it falls. Really, REALLY hard. It seemed like the longer I went on, the worse and more annoying the characters got. There were, however, times where I was intrigued and interested in the story. But then it just crumbles because I'm left wondering....why was that needed?
There are many things in this book that don't go anywhere, or are promised to be explained but never are. This, for a reader, is very frustrating. I know that there are certain things the author would like to be left to the reader's imagination, but in this book it comes off as trying to be clever, but really isn't.
But it's not up to me to decide whether or not you'll read this book. This is merely a warning of the frustration you are bound to experience.
Or not. Maybe you'll actually like the book. I didn't. But it's up to you.
The most glaring fact is that, being A, there is no chance for a regular relationship. Each day the body changes, so Rhiannon is firstly stumped by seeing a new person everyday. She has it hard, in the way that she has to look for A every time, see beneath the skin, into the soul. She is also heterosexual, which makes it slightly weird for her whenever A is female, but she still goes along with it. It’s a meeting of souls, but a relationship between them – especially a physical one is complicated. And each time the body is also a matter, however you look at it. Love is part affection and part attraction – and every time the new body is something Rhiannon has to get used to, forget being attracted to. It’s lucky that A’s soul is transferred around the same state, because being shuffled around the world would have made it impossible. Even with A’s virtual life as an e-mail account, which is the only way A can keep in touch, there is still the question of him never being able to be there for her, never being able to stay. There is another person, Nathan, who A had once occupied and was left with remnant memories of the occupation. The background as to what A is, isn’t even hinted at until nearly the end of the book – but that suspense wasn’t the only thing driving the book. It was the beauty of A’s existence and also the pain of it – the ability to live such myriad lives and yet never truly be a part of it. It was heart-breaking, I tell you, and I cried at times. This book left me broken down, crying at the end, which is too painful and also very spoiler-y. But man, such beautiful lines in this book – I would have read it faster if I hadn’t stopped and shared every beautiful quote on Tumblr. Basically, what I am saying is – go read this book!
I think, ultimately, this book was kind of a letdown for a lot of reasons. It was nicely written--there were some really beautiful parts, but I think it could have been a much better book had it not actually been about a romance? I don't know, because I realize that would cut the heart out of the book, but there were so many things about it that made me uncomfortable, despite a nifty concept.