Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Series: Every Day (#1)
Shelved: Young adult fiction (contemporary, romance, fantasy)
Rating: ★★★★
Buy: Hive
More: Goodreads

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)
Pages: 372
If you liked: Thirteen Reasons Why, Before I Fall & The Time Traveler’s Wife

29 thoughts on “Book Review: Every Day by David Levithan

  1. I really liked Levithan’s exploration of gender and sexuality, too. I suspect most of us would identify more with Rhiannon – I certainly did – mainly because most people seem to beattracted to a gender, whether that’s the same gender or the opposite. Obviously A doesn’t have that, so it’s an interesting question to ask. Well written review, too!

  2. I’m really glad you enjoyed Every Day Stacey! It’s very different from the YA books I’ve read. I think sometimes it was difficult to like A because the person’s life was being messed up because of the need to see Rhiannon, but I enjoyed the complexities that were presented about A and Rhiannon’s relationship.I’m not exactly sure if I want to read a book from Rhiannon’s POV since I don’t think it would be as interesting as it is from A’s, but then again it’s David Levithan and he’s an amazing writer. Great Review!

  3. I reaaly like David Levithan’s point of view about life, gender and sexuality. I read other books from him about this question and loved it! Boys meets boys is cute. It’s shame that it hadn’t been published in Brazil.

    Love your blog.

    Bia

  4. I love Every Day, it’s my favourite David Levithan book so far! 😀 (I’ve read Dash & Lily, Will Grayson Will Grayson, Nick & Norah, and Lover’s Dictionary) I am currently reading Boy Meets Boy, and loving it! Did you get along to his London event? I met him (twice!) in Dublin this week. Great review, please read mine out if you have a chance!

  5. I really did not like this book at all, which surprised me because I usually really enjoy Levithan’s books. But I found this one creepy and preachy and just so much about it set me on edge. Stealing my goodreads review to post here-
    Here’s what I got from this book-
    Gender doesn’t matter at all and if you think it does you’re a horrible person!!
    Being overweight is the worst thing you can be!!
    Stalking someone is totally okay as long as you love them and convince them to love you back, even over their protestations!!
    You can totes accurately judge someone after spending ten seconds in their body!!

    • It’s really interesting that you say that because I thought it was the opposite! I don’t think he was saying how awful everyone is for thinking gender matters regarding sexuality. After all, the majority of people do. (And plus he identifies as gay, which of course takes gender into account!). I think that throughout the book he was just acknowledging how people are/think, but doesn’t necessarily condone these thoughts.

  6. I’ve been meaning to read David Levithan’s books for a while now, but I’m not even sure which to start with, although this review has certainly bumped Every Day up on the list. I’d love to hear what you think of Boy Meets Boy. It looks really good. 🙂

    • I know, there so many! Dash & Lily is perfect to read around Christmas time! I’m going to read it again in December.

      I’ve heard they’re all really good though. Two Boys Kissing is his newest.

  7. Haven’t read any of David Leviathan’s books but maybe I should. Sounds intriguing!

  8. Really enjoyed your review of this book; I read it a while ago and hadn’t thought about it recently. I, too, found the exploration of gender and attraction to be interesting, and it made me think about things in a way I previously hadn’t, so I appreciated that. I also agree that A seemed selfish, but I think we all can be when feelings are involved.
    I hope you enjoy Boy Meets Boy; I’ve never read it. The Lover’s Dictionary is pretty great, as is Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Levithan’s collaboration with John Green). And I read Dash and Lily every year around Thanksgiving; it gets me in the holiday spirit! 🙂

    • Oh yes, A’s definitely selfish, and a little stalkerish/creepy/possessive, but it’s also somewhat understandable. I also own WG, WG, but keep forgetting it’s co-written by David (I forgot to bring it to his signing!).

  9. Very good write-up. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!

  10. […] Boys Kissing is my second solo book written by David Levithan. I first read Every Day last October and I was blown away by the unique writing style and profound storyline. I mentioned […]

  11. Is everyday a novel? What’s the genre of everyday? Im just asking cause im planning to read it

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