Every Day by David Levithan
Published: 2 September 2013 (Electric Monkey)
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Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There's never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that's fine - until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply.
The only book I've read by David Levithan is Will Grayson, Will Grayson - a book he co-wrote with John Green - so I was excited to check out more of his work. I'd heard great things about Every Day so decided to treat myself to a copy! Every Day tells the story of A, who wakes up each day in a new body. They must live as that person for twenty-four hours, trying not to disrupt their life, something which becomes difficult when they fall for Rhiannon and go to enormous lengths to see her.
I absolutely adored the concept of this book and it was executed so brilliantly. The main character wakes up in a new body each morning and is ripped from that body every night at midnight. It's happened their whole life so it's the only way of living they've ever known. A, as they refer to themselves, takes on the roles of both girls and boys and gets to see life from every perspective possible. It's one of those books that's hard to fit into a genre because it's got that element of something more you can't quite explain. A doesn't know why this happens to them, it just does. It reminded me very much of Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, two books I adored that did similar things very well.
The great thing about Every Day is that because A takes on all these different characters, you get a wide range of stories and insights into those characters' lives, meaning the story is always fresh and exciting. But you also have one plot running throughout the book which is A's relationship with Rhiannon. We meet Rhiannon when A wakes up one day in her boyfriend Justin's body. Throughout the book the two characters encounter each other with A in several different bodies and they have to overcome that barrier in order to keep up some sort of relationship. It's an incredibly sweet and powerful love story that really explores the idea of being in love with a person, not just a body. I also loved getting to know Rhiannon herself who I was completely intrigued by. She's kind and caring and you can see why A is drawn to her.
One thing often lacking in YA books is a diverse range of characters. One of my favourite things about Every Day is that A wakes up in the body of all kinds of people from all types of background. A encounters different religions, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and disabilites. and because A is living life through their body it means you get an amazing insight into each of those aspects of the people's lives/ It also posed some great questions about how we judge people based on those attributes. A has grown up living as a diverse range of people and has encountered just about every judgment going. I really applaud the author for managing to capture such a wide range of characters and backgrounds.
I also loved the idea of the moral dilemmas A has to face. Being in that body for just one day means trying to disturb as little as possible, but what if you wake up in the body of someone who is about to do something drastic? Do you stop them? And does it matter if you skip school in that person's body leaving them to deal with the consequences?
I was hooked to the pages throughout Every Day as the story became something bigger and A started to face real danger. Not everything is answered and some parts of the book were left open ended but I wouldn't have it any other way. I liked that this book make me think and wonder about what was happening. It's a story I just couldn't get out of my head.
Every Day is a book that's so hard to review because it is just so good. The idea is so clever and so brilliantly executed that is just blew me away as I was reading it. When I finished, all I could think was "that was phenomenal". I can't wait to start recommending it to friends, readers - just about anyone!
What to read next: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan
Books like this: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, If I Stay by Gayle Forman