Monday, 20 October 2014

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day (2014) (Egmont)
David Levithan
Grade: A-
Genre: young adult
Source: own
Young adult RBC 2014: A book with an epic love story 

A wakes up in a different body every day – A doesn’t identify with any gender and has become used to his abnormal life. Boy or girl, fat or thin, homosexual or straight, athletic or academic, nasty or nice, A has experienced it all. For the purposes of this review, we’ll refer to A as a male. A closes his eyes at night and know that when morning comes, he will be in another body, ready for another day of pretending to be another stranger.

There’s never been a strong sense of attachment to a particular body – until Justin. Or rather, not Justin, but his girlfriend Rhiannon. In Justin’s body, A experiences a perfect day, all the time knowing that Justin won’t remember a thing and that Rhiannon will be crushed when her unsuspecting and normally reticent boyfriend won’t have any recollection of their day. Then A breaks all his rules and contacts Rhiannon again, from another body, explaining his story and continuing to meet her when he can in a new body until she understands. For A, this is what love feels like: finding someone with whom he’s willing to risk everything to tell his life story.

When A doesn’t manage to get one of the bodies he’s occupied back home in time for the stroke of midnight, he doesn’t realise how serious the repercussions will be. The surrogate body was from a deeply religious family, and they’re convinced that their son was possessed by the devil. Suddenly, the story that Satan is possessing teenagers around the country is making its way around the news circuits and A is receiving messages that he can’t ignore …

This was certainly an original and engaging plot and genuinely one of the most interesting ideas I’ve read in a long time. I’m sure there are times when everyone has a desire to step into someone else’s shoes for the day, but this fantasy is A’s reality. David Levithan does a fantastic job in literally creating a new character for his protagonist every day, yet still retaining A’s core identity and love for Rhiannon underneath.

What could make a more epic love story? The young adult genre is full of first loves, love triangles and bad boys falling for the girl-next-door, but what could be more mind-blowing than a girl who finds herself falling for a person who could be absolutely anyone else the next day? Each chapter is numbered, marking each new day in his life, representing a day in A’s life – 6000 days for 6000 people. It’s a chilling thought and even though A is a completely innocent party, you can’t help but think that he’s counting out a prison sentence – one where there’s no escape.

This has been one of the more powerful books I’ve read this year. I suppose it could be classed as a soft science fiction and it’s like nothing that I ever remember reading. Even though it’s underlined with dark themes throughout, I still found it a fairly light read. It’s written in a way that means it’s easy to stop if need be, yet you don’t have to remember every single detail of every body to understand the book. I was a little annoyed at the ending, but that’s prone to happen if I don’t get my way. That said, it was optimistic in some lights and David Levithan left the novel attractively open to a great number of possibilities. Though not strictly part of a series, there’s another book titled Six Earlier Days which gives readers and fans an idea of what 6 of A’s other days were like, before Day 5994 which started this book. I’m definitely tempted, but as it doesn’t directly impact (so I assume) the events of Every Day, I'm going to pass for now.

Image courtesy of Wordery

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