Every Day, by David Levithan is similar to being violently thrust into someone else's life, without recollection as to how you ended up in their shoes, and under which circumstances. Only then can you start fully contemplating and trying to grasp the complex life “A” has lived day to day, since birth.
Meet “A”, your not so average teenager. This may sound like every other young adult novel out there but give me the benefit of doubt (and a few paragraphs) to explain. I have taken the liberty of divulging a few facts about our unreliable, ever-changing character that Levithan has cleverly crafted.
“A” has no “set” gender, no sexuality, no religion, no past, no future – except others'. ”A” has been borrowing lives for a single day by using another's body, and a clever technique to dive into their brain to learn about the current day's host – their habits, family, friends, secrets...
Unbelievable as it may seem, “A” has somehow managed, in all this chaos, to forge a personal identity with proper beliefs, values, thoughts and chosen memories, giving depth to an otherwise unrelatable hero.
Furthermore, this peculiar protagonist lives by a set of self-imposed rules that dictate certain aspects of life, the most crucial one being never forming bonds with the daily entourage, because losing them within twenty four hours is inevitable.
However, rules are meant to be broken, thus we embark along with “A” on a journey of self-discovery and growth. The vessel “A” inhabits when we meet, belongs to a boy. His girlfriend, Rhiannon, whom he treats horribly, has lost all confidence in herself when around him. “A”, hidden beneath the layers of skin and bones, tries to give Rhiannon the best day of her life, all while falling in love with her.
Yet, things take a turn for the tragic. How to explaining who “A” really is ? A wanderer without a physical body, without sounding insane – synonymous with a lack of a future for the two of them. Nevertheless, “A” decides to find a way back to Rhiannon every day, as time progresses and “A” 's soul moves on, through the hosts' bodies.
This book was written with extreme richness, open-mindedness, and sentiment. You cry along with “A” through numbered worries and woes, you love Rhiannon with the same furry as “A”, you feel frustrated by the life “A” seems doomed to lead, trying in vain to beat destiny.
Rooting for the hero is expected. However, rooting for one that is never quite the same from chapter to chapter, is a hard task to accomplish, but David Levithan tackles it perfectly. He masters his art perfectly, by creating complex and human characters, while always keeping an effortless flow to his stories, which will certainly keep you up all night.
In the end, Levithan weaves more than a simple teen love story. Every Day makes you question what gives your life meaning ; the importance of living in the present, when you make your “on the spot” decisions, or basing yourself on passed experiences, that will have varying consequences tomorrow. Each day is accounted for, each day holds importance, each day is worth living to the fullest because you never know what the next day will bring.
By imposing on the reader such a multitude of diverse characters, via “A”, unnumbered amounts of facets concerning one's identity are openly discussed.
In Every Day, David Levithan juggles with topics such as gender and sexual orientation, without downgrading, insulting, or criticizing. Also, he places “A” in teens from broken homes, inside people suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, addictions – nothing is left unsaid, nothing is taboo. The overall lesson I had the pleasure of uncovering during my read was that the person you strive to be each day is as important as who you were yesterday, and who you'll be tomorrow. Because if you may not always learn from the past, you can always try to better your future.
Every Day is a wonderfully crafted, thought-provoking novel that I would highly recommend to any teen. It doesn't fit into the category of “OK” reads, trust me (or better yet, I hope my review has convinced you).