Every Day by David Levithan, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-30793188-7
“I wake up. Immediately I have to figure out who I am.” So begins David Levithan’s new novel, Every Day. The narrator is A. and every day he wakes up in a new body. Given this existence, it’s hard to pin a specific pronoun on the character, but I will use “he” even though half the time A. is in girls’ bodies and in one case a girl body whose gender is male. Clearly, it’s a confusing existence, one that forces A to constantly live in the present. Constantly switching bodies gives A. a deep, universal perspective on humanity but makes relationships with people impossible. When he meets Rhiannon while in the body of her thoughtless boyfriend, he feels a connection and doesn’t want to let go. The trick is how does he help her see him while he inhabits all these different forms. Making things more challenging is a boy named Nathan Daldry who is convinced A. is the devil after A. inhabits his body and makes him dance with Rhiannon at a party. His campaign to find others who have been “possessed” by A. raise uncomfortable questions about the nature of A.’s existence and whether he can ever truly have a relationship that lasts longer than a single day.
Fans of Levithan’s previous books (Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility) will not be disappointed by Every Day. In the novel, he brings his deep understanding of teenage relationships to the story of A. and Rhiannon. A., like most teenagers, just wants to be seen and understood by someone. In Rhiannon he finds a girl whose kindness and curiosity allows her see beyond the surface and connect with who A. really is. The fact that A. is in a new body every day makes their relationship incredibly challenging. Imagine not knowing if your boyfriend is going to show up to your date as a morbidly obese boy or an incredibly hot Beyoncé look-alike. A.’s dilemma also allows Levithan to show the challenges different kinds of people face being seen because of their bodies. A. inhabits a variety of 16-year-old bodies, including a drug addict, a clinically depressed girl, a twin, a female who’s gendered male and shows how their reality is shaped by their biology. Even though A.’s personality doesn’t change day to day, at times he must struggle not to let the body’s desire alter the way he thinks and behaves. It’s a fascinating thought experiment. One that Levithan turns into a thought provoking and entertaining novel.
Information about the author
The author writes on his Amazon.com page, “I find it downright baffling to write about myself, which is why I’m considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio and to update it now and then. The factual approach (born ’72, Brown ’94, first book ’03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence – give or take a few poems – and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction I’ve ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. I am evangelical in my musical beliefs.”
Young Adult Fiction
Reading Level / Interest Age
Grade 9 and up