Initial reaction: David Levithan’s “Every Day” is a fascinating take on a rather interesting “what if” – what if you woke up each day in an entirely different body, with only a limited amount of time to live each individual life? That’s the confounding factor that “A” has to face each day, and to make matters more complex, “A” is in love with a girl encountered during one of the transferals. I think the way Levithan approaches the subject and the different lives that “A” leaves is with much sensitivity and resonance for what the story offers. I couldn’t help but be pulled into the vortex of emotions and experiences. It left me with a few punches to the gut in the aftermath, but I loved the journey, and would consider this a favorite among my reads of Levithan’s work.
I think “Every Day” might be my favorite David Levithan work thus far, because of the way it tackles such a fascinating concept with such an eye for detail into each of the lives lived by its protagonist “A”. Granted, even with the switches between each individual life that occur through each part of the book, I felt that I could find A’s mindset rather well. He/she is genderless, initially flowing from one life to the next and trying to fit the pieces together within each individual “A” takes on. Yet, things change as A finds love with a young woman named Rhiannon. “A” falls for her, wants to be a part of her company, know some sense of solidarity with her, but it proves a daunting task. “A” tries to take whatever measures they can to meet with Rhiannon and find a connection, though it doesn’t come without many repercussions, some of which involve Rhiannon discovering the difficult truth about A’s existence. I thought the way that Levithan gets inside “A’s” mindset and how each life is given a snapshot view, yet treated with such importance in difficult measures (such as the life of an addict, a depressed young woman, among others) were powerful statements, though I didn’t really like some of the generalizations made about certain embodiments that A took on (i.e. the obese teen that A inhabits at one point). The relationship between A and Rhiannon has some very sweet, enthralling moments that I really enjoyed watching unfold, and the characterization between them is rather solid. Even the spot characterizations in the lives that “A” leads within are potent, especially when “A” is able to see some of the complexities in the family or personal dynamic that each individual teen has.
I think the ending is a bit on the bittersweet side. I didn’t see it ending many other ways considering the complex nature of the novel and the circumstance A lives within, but while it left me with a heavy feeling at heart, I also felt a strong connection with it, and I think people will like what this novel has to offer with its unique premise and viewpoints. On the whole, Levithan treats the issues/matters of each individual very well, and it unfolds in an incredible story that’s very unlike many YA novels in its genre.
Overall score: 4/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Random House Children’s Books/Knopf BFYR.