David Levithan has been published for over ten years, but Every Day was my first standalone book written by him, having only previously read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (which is one of my favourite books!). He visited Waterstones Piccadilly, London this week to promote the book as it has only just been published in the UK.
When I picked up Every Day, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I knew that David’s books were popular with the interwebz and that he was a prolific writer, but I did not know much about the kinds of stories he wrote. Every Day is, unusually, a simple book to explain: A has no body, no gender, no sexuality. A wakes up in a different stranger’s body every morning and has to live their life for a day, until A is whisked away at midnight only to repeat the process again tomorrow. A tries not to interfere too much in people’s lives, until he meets Rhiannon, falls in love, and starts to break the rules one by one.
David Levithan’s writing is profound, deep, and meaningful, which can take a little getting used to. It’s not usually how we voice our thoughts, but A has had a lot of time to think about the most fundamental questions concerning human beings. (It reminded me a little of the voice-overs in One Tree Hill). And this is combined with A falling in love in less than day. It’s difficult to comprehend, but to A, a day is always just a day. There is no planning, no promises and no future or even past. Every Day is realistic fantasy combined with a contemporary romance like no other, but Rhiannon does not give in to to the sudden romance easily. She’s open to the adventure, but tries not to get too close. She knows Justin treats her badly, but does not want to let him go. She likes A, but doesn’t like A.
Although Every Day is, on the surface, a simple idea, it throws up a lot of complicated questions. What defines who you are? Is gender a silly concept? What about sexuality? Is what A’s doing morally wrong? Is it better to experience many different things, or see a few the whole way through? David Levithan does not attempt to answer these questions; A doesn’t know, so we never know, but shows us that it’s important to think about them because it essentially changes the way we see the world and other people.
Although A and Rhiannon’s relationship is at the heart of the novel, and is what the story is centered around, I very much enjoyed seeing who A was going to wake up as next; the colourful mosaic of human lives combined with a strange kind of wanderlust. Although each ‘host’ is sixteen years old, each has a very different story to tell. Some we get to know quite well – and want to spend more time with, but know we cannot – and others we only get a glimpse of. A is consistent across the 40 days that we spend with A, but every experience is unalike.
I started off thinking Every Day was different, but I wasn’t sure whether I was enjoying it, yet I ended up not wanting to put it down. You may be pleased to hear that David Levithan is planning to write a companion novel to Every Day, which follows the story through Rhiannon’s point of view. I will be reading Boy Meets Boy next!
Published: 28th August 2012 (US) 2nd September 2013 (UK)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (US) Electric Monkey (UK)
If you liked: Thirteen Reasons Why, Before I Fall & The Time Traveler’s Wife