Every Day by David Levithan, released in 2012
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.
The premise of this book is hard not to get excited over. Levithan has a very original concept in Every Day, with a protagonist who wakes up in a new body every day. I am a massive fan of books with original concepts. And the first chapter throws you into the action immediately, so not for a second can you doubt you’ve picked up the wrong book. I’m not going to dawdle around and say maybe I liked this book, maybe I didn’t: I really, really liked it. The ending wasn’t 100% for me, but overall this book is a success. Now let’s get to a brief summary and remember, some spoilers may occur but I will warn you.
So Every Day is what Levithan tells you it is: we have the protagonist, A, who “wakes up” in a different body every day. A has come to terms with this and decided not to interfere with the person’s life BUT of course in the first chapter they meet Rhiannon and A falls in love and BAM major interfering starts to happen. The plot is driven by A trying to meet up with Rhiannon and pursue their romance with a little side-plot of someone who has discovered A’s identity.
I’m going to tackle the main negative that pops up with this novel first. The instalove. It can’t be ignored. I mean, it’s literally mentioned in the book summary. In the first chapter of the book, A will spot Rhiannon, Justin’s girlfriend, and in the progression of one day, fall in love. And yes, the word love is used.
Now, I am a huge non-fan of instalove. It drives me insane. It’s not realistic, it way more often than not makes characters unlikeable, and it ruins plotlines. But in this book, it didn’t bother me. I’m not entirely sure why, but let me outline the reasons I do know. For one, I knew it was coming. Like I said, it was mentioned in the book summary, and if it bothered me that much, I should have turned away from the beginning. For another, A is still a sixteen-year-old. They’re irrational sometimes and throw in the fact that A has been living a life of impermanence, well, fixating on someone feels unavoidable. A has no constant in their life, Rhiannon looked interesting to them… So, love. From this definition of their romance, you might get that I didn’t think it was true love. Yup. I didn’t. But I did think A needed someone to attach to, and I accepted this fully. So there you have it. For me, it wasn’t instalove, it was insta-“I finally feel a connection to someone” and that seemed plausible to me.
I hope that clears up the romance aspect of the novel for anyone. Because definitely, like I said, it drives a lot of the book. To me, you need to read the book as a psychological analysis of A. A is saying “romantic love” but as a reader, you need to see “finally, I have found someone who can be a permanent fixture in my life.”
And, really, seeing this as a psychological aspect isn’t that far off? Because Levithan did an amazing, and I mean amazing, job of raising sociological questions throughout this book. THAT is the real stunner in Every Day (for me, at least). We have the chapter where A wakes up in the body of a girl with depression. That one SHOOK me. It was hella realistic (imho). Then the representations of LGBTQ youth, undocumented youth, drug users… Yeah. There is a lot to think about in this book BESIDES A falling in love with Rhiannon. Many times I had to put the book aside and just think about society. Once or twice Levithan’s voice slips through and gets a little preachy, but really the reader is given the space to make up their own minds about the situations presented to them in the novel, which I appreciate.
A last thing for me to consider (and present to you) is the novel’s ending. I don’t want to make this part of my review a spoiler, because if you haven’t read the book I want you to have some kind of awareness going in. So how to phrase this… In general terms, A makes a decision for someone else that upset me. Haha, that is insanely general. But yes, throughout the novel A is a character who is flawed: they believe they know best because they have lived so many lives. Rhiannon challenges this view and by the end of the novel, I think it’s up for debate whether A has truly learned their previous conception. Because yes, the final scenes of the book show A, once again, make a huge decision they believe is “what is best” because they have lived “it all.” As readers, I believe we need to be aware of this flaw during our reading (first of all) and question the novel’s ending because A is not the great individual they believe themselves to be. To keep myself from ending in rambles, I will just say that the closing scene of this book did not satisfy me as a reader, but did make sense in terms of A’s personality.
All of this considered, I give this book four crowns. While I spoke about it in general terms, the ending did leave me with a lot of conflicting thoughts (stealing away this book’s chance at five crowns). Otherwise, there are just so many thought provoking moments in this novel that it cannot be left on the shelf. If there are any teachers out there, please bring this book into the classroom. Excerpts would be great to examine mental health, LGBTQ issues, homelessness, etc.
Oh, and I feel I should mention – there’s an Every Day movie adaptation coming out?? Thanks to @Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl) for letting me know! Not sure if I’m particularly hyped about seeing this film though … as I already stated in this review, I love this book *because* I disregard the romance aspect, and I feel like the movie will hype that up. But who knows!
NOW, let me know what I should read and review for next week! Don’t be afraid to pick a book you have never even heard of before … maybe you’ll end up with a new favourite! Comment either the book title/author/or number of the book you want me to read&review.
(1) Elixir by Hilary Duff & Elise Allen [YA / Fantasy]
Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.
When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.
(2) Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick [YA / Fantasy]
When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.
Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.
A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.
(3) Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff [Mystery / Fantasy]
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.
For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.
With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
📷 = @shaniasquires