Every Day by David Levithan
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that 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. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
Every Day on Goodreads
David Levithan‘s website
Review by Alfonso
YABC’s average rating is 3.45.
Every Day is the story of a non-gendered protagonist named ‘A’ who wakes up every day in the body of someone else. This has been going on for as long as ‘A’ could remember. As a result, ‘A’ has become adept at inhabiting different bodies and makes it a point to get through the day with minimal disruption to their lives. This all changes the day that ‘A’ wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with his girlfriend Rhiannon. Rhiannon and Justin are far from a perfect couple. In fact, Rhiannon and Justin’s love appears to be one sided. ‘A’ decides to give Rhiannon a day that she will never forget by ditching school to go on an adventure. This will be a fleeting day of perfection for Justin and Rhiannon, and the real Justin will not remember anything from that day. The next day, ‘A’ can’t stop thinking about Rhiannon and goes against the rules that have kept everyone from finding ‘A’s secret. ‘A’s recklessness to be near Rhiannon endangers his secret.
The rest of this review contains spoilers.
Levithan succeeds in keeping the reader entertained. ‘A’ wakes up every morning in the body of a different person and the age of the “host” is always the age that ‘A’ would have been. This has been happening for as long as ‘A’ could remember–possibly since birth, but the reader never learns how this magical feat is possible. This is one of the shortcomings of the book.
One of the questions that I was looking forward to having the group discuss involved whether they believed ‘A’ to be male or female at the time of birth. It was interesting to see that most of us believed ‘A’ to be either male or neither. I assumed that ‘A’ had been born male. For me, the reason obviously had to do with the fact that I am male. I know that this is not very forward thinking of me, but it is hard at times to remove the conditioning that we have been exposed to. Perhaps this is why Levithan wrote Every Day: to get us out of thinking within our so-called “norms”. I had a bit of an “aha!” moment when ‘A’ inhabited the body of a theater worker. I had assumed that the body that ‘A’ was inhabiting was a female because of the attraction toward a male character. Boy was I wrong! But I was pleasantly enlightened to the fact that my assumption was wrong. This must have been the experience that Levithan intended to elicit from his readers. Most of us believed that the original gender did not matter over the course of the story. It will be up to the reader to make the decision on what gender ‘A’ began with and if that makes a difference.
Ultimately, the story is about unconditional love and the idea that it does not matter who you are or where you come from. Love is love. Like all stories about love, with the exception of the changing bodies, things change drastically for ‘A’ after inhabiting the body of Justin and falling in love with Rhiannon. Suddenly, ‘A’s instincts for survival (not disrupting the lives of those inhabited) are quickly discarded and forgotten like the bodies inhabited previously. ‘A’ wants to do everything possible to stay close to Rhiannon. Rather obsessive and creepy.
The problem that we had was how to describe the book to a prospected reader since ‘A’ is not identified by gender. Some even thought the book was not very memorable. The bodies that ‘A’ inhabits feel too calculated that it oftentime distracted from a fluid reading. It feels that there was a point to be made, that the author had an agenda when writing the book.