Author: David Levithan
Published: 2012, Alfred A. Knopf; 2013, Ember.
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult.
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4 out of 5 starsImagine waking up every morning to find yourself in a new body; to be taking over someones’ life for a day. This is A’s life. The one guarantee is that ‘he’ will always be occupying the body of someone the same age and ‘he’ won’t have traveled that far (usually no more than four hours away). A had become accustomed to this life, it’s the only life A has ever known, so from day to day A lives, not really expecting anything else. When A meets Rihannon while inhabiting the body of her boyfriend Justin (who is an arse), everything changes.
A is drawn to Rihannon and sees a sadness in her. This is the reason I couldn’t bring myself to rate it five stars: insta-love. I will never really understand insta-love. A in many respects lives a lonely life, so maybe he sensed this in Rihannon, who I feel, is lonely in her relationship with Justin. A has become skilled at observing people and noticing things that others might not, so obviously saw something that made ‘him’ feel connected to Rihannon. Given the life that A lives, it’s understandable that ‘he’ would want to grab hold of this. Four stars was the rating that stuck in my mind, which made me think: Why four stars? Why not five? It’s a great book! If you like it that much, why not five stars? And upon reflection, it is this element of insta-love that prevented me from giving it five stars. Also the fact that it doesn’t, in my opinion, have a complete conclusion; the book left me wanting to know what happens next.
This is certainly a unique and thought-provoking story. You may have wondered why I keep using A’s name, and have instead tried to shy away from assigning a gender. This is because A doesn’t really identify with a gender; waking up in the body of a boy or girl doesn’t matter for A. A is just A. (Although, to be honest, I do keep leaning towards identifying A as male.) This is an insightful book, full of diversity; the book isn’t just about being straight, gay or a person of colour etc., it’s essentially about the essence of who we are and seeing past labels, I think – so the book encompasses many elements of that.
“If you stare at the center of the universe, there is a coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us.
“That’s why we have to care about each other.”
A wants Rihannon to be able to see just him, not what’s on the outside because ‘he’ is so much more than that. I like this about Every Day; I like how it makes you think. People get so hung-up on labels: gay, straight, fat, thin, asian, drop-dead gorgeous. But, people are so much more than any one thing; being gay isn’t all that person is; being beautiful on the outside doesn’t mean that’s all you are. A, I believe, was longing to be really seen; ‘he’ was funny, kind, principled and intelligent, which really makes up who ‘he’ is and this is what ‘he’ desired for Rihannon to see: The essence of ‘him’. You know it’s a special book when it makes you think.
Every Day is heart-warming, heartbreaking, original and if you are like me, will leave you longing for more.