Review: “Every Day” by David Levithan

Title: “Every Day”

Author: David Levithan

Genre: YA contemporary, paranormal romance, GLBT

Publication Date: August 28, 2012 (Random House – North America)

Source: NetGalley review copy

Summary: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. 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.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

☆: 4/5 stars – a heartbreakingly wonderful book, proving that gender is irrelevant in love.

Review: This book is just…wow. I’ve been looking for a book like this in YA for a long time, and I’ve finally found it. This book is insanely risky in that it doesn’t adhere to the status quo when it comes to romance – we have het relationships, gay relationships, and trans relationships all within one book and between two people. “Every Day” will make your heart hurt, and only hammers home one of the most important truths in the world: when it comes to love, gender is absolutely irrelevant if you recognize the person beneath it.

I’ll admit, this is my first Levithan book. I tried reading “Will Grayson”, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. But with “Every Day”, I very easily sank into the prose and into A’s beautiful and horrible world of having to experience a new body (and a new life) every single day. This book is not an easy one to read in the emotional sense, though: there are a LOT of feels to be felt, and a lot of questions you’re going to end up asking yourself, the most important of which being “what is identity?”. Though we get multiple version of what A physically looks like, we get a ton of exposition on A’s side mentally on how they’re constructed on the inside. A is like any other person with faults and graces, but just has the unfortunate problem of being torn from the body everyday and shoved into a new one.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays with the traditional YA set. There is no heaving bosoms or hot guys or love triangles – there’s a lot of thinking, a lot of heart-hurting, and a lot of beautiful tears you’ll be crying by the end of the book. There’s not a lot of action physically, but emotionally, this book will move you regardless of what your views are on gender identity and relationships. This is a very quiet book, and it will creep up on you – it definitely did on me.

And yet, there’s still the question – is this a standalone? While I definitely wouldn’t mind another book in A’s universe (especially with the revelations of A’s gender and the Big Reveal the Reverend makes), I think I’m happy with the way this book ended and don’t mind if this ends up staying a standalone. It ends openly, leaving the reader free to kind of make their own ending about what A is going to do next. The world Levithan weaves here is very, very thorough and bright, but heartbreaking all the same when we realize the enormity of the struggle A and Rhiannon must take on in order to stay together. The characters weave back into the world, so for a magical realism YA contemporary, this has some of the best worldbuilding I’ve ever seen for the genre. And that’s saying a lot. While Rhiannon’s character is not quite entirely 3D enough for me (hence the slightly lower score), A is fully fleshed out, as is Nathan, and that was adequate enough for me.

As someone with a taste of gender dysphoria (and a HUGE case of body dysphoria), this book means a LOT to me. I’m glad Random House is brave enough to publish it because we NEED more books like this in YA, period. It made me feel okay about who I may or may not be, and it comforted me in ways that I’ve been looking for for awhile. Levithan truly understands the nature of love – and its ultimate truth. It doesn’t matter if the person is a boy, girl, or in-between, gay or straight or trans or bi or pan – if you love them, you love them. The rest are just trappings that society slap on as a way to mentally process you (and as a way for you to process yourself). You find someone beautiful at their core, not necessarily on the physical level. You find love there, not as what the rest of YA lit would have us think anyway.

So I hope that more YA authors have the huge balls that Levithan does and publish more books like this. “Every Day” is out now through Random House in North America, and its place on my best of 2012 list is very well deserved. You can bet that once I get the chance, I’ll be adding this to my bookcase. Seriously, guys. Read this book. It will change you in ways you won’t even see coming.


3 thoughts on “Review: “Every Day” by David Levithan

  1. Pingback: usagi’s challenges for 2012! | birth of a new witch.

  2. It’s not that often that a book comes out with a storyline that is like nothing like I’ve ever seen before. I can’t wait to pick this one up and let my heart get stomped on. Thanks for letting me know about it!

  3. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves: Week 17 | birth of a new witch.

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