Every Day by David Levithan
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Every morning, A wakes up in the body of someone different. A doesn’t have gender or a body of A’s own, but every day A is able to take on a new personality and new life, and then wake up the next morning and get a brand new one. A is okay with this and has learned over time not to form any attachments with people, to stay under the radar while inhabiting people’s bodies, and not to interfere with people’s lives. But everything changes when A wakes up in Justin’s body and falls madly in love with his girlfriend, Rhiannan. A wants to spend every possible moment with her, but how can that be possible when tomorrow A will wake up and be someone else?
This book has such a unique concept and before I began reading it, I was worried that I wouldn’t connect with this A person. Because A is a different person every day, each chapter requires the reader to learn about a whole new individual’s life. While that sounds like it would get confusing or overwhelming, it never does. As a reader, you actually come to see A as an individual – almost like a soul that is inhabiting these bodies for a day at a time.
Levithan writes teenage emotions so well. I truly believed, despite the unique concept of A not having a body of his/her own, that A and Rhiannan were in love. And while it sounds crazy that Rhiannan could love a different physical body every day, Levithan made me believe it was possible and true. I hung onto A’s every word and truly felt A’s pain as he/she worked so hard to find ways to get to Rhiannan and to make their love work.
This book made me think, too. Gender is SO socially constructed and so ingrained into my brain that it was really tough for me not to think of A as male simply because he was in love with a girl and because he was in a boy’s body when he fell in love with said girl. Even when he was in girl’s bodies, it was like in my mind he was a guy in a girl’s body. I am sure that Levithan came up with this concept to challenge people’s notions of gender and sexuality, and to make the reader examine one’s own thoughts on this subject, and this definitely happened for me. I’m still thinking about it and trying to understand my thoughts on A’s “real” gender – even though A doesn’t have a gender, it’s so outside of my mind to get the concept that not having a gender is possible. Like I want to put A in a box and categorize him somehow – I know Levithan is challenging the reader to think through this, and I appreciate it. But I’m still thinking.
I felt somewhat conflicted over the ending but as I’ve thought about it a lot, I have come to the conclusion that I liked it. Any other ending would have been unrealistic. While nothing about this book is very realistic, if you can suspend your disbelief to get to the ending, the way Levithan chose to end things makes the most possible sense, I think.
What I loved most about Every Day is how much it made me think. I loved the characters and I continue to feel that Levithan is a truly talented author, but I loved that I’m still thinking about this book weeks after finishing it. Highly recommended.