The premise of David Levithan’s Every Day is at once far-fetched and lovely. Each morning the protagonist known simply as A wakes up in a different body. A doesn’t have an appearance of his or her own, doesn’t conscribe to one gender, and knows no permanent home. It’s a challenging concept but Levithan pulls it off for the most part. Our journey with A begins when he wakes up like any other day in the body of another teenager named Justin and meets the beautiful Rhiannon, Justin’s girlfriend who he quickly realizes his host doesn’t deserve. We follow A over several days and weeks as he continues to reach out to Rhiannon, dealing with the consequences of these choices.
The highlight of David Levithan’s young adult novel is seeing A adapt to the new body and life each chapter. We see our protagonist wake up in bodies of all races and sizes, male, female and transgender. After living sixteen-or-so years in this life, A comes off not as weary, but open to new experiences. This tactic allows us to see the beauty in the concept of this piece, that people aren’t all that different. That’s why the romance with Rhiannon is just as lovely–seeing this young girl struggle to accept this new love in an ever-changing body. She is open to the experience but occasionally struggles with the reality of it.
The novel shifts somewhat in its second half. Instead of focusing solely on the relationship with Rhiannon, Levithan introduces a second plot when one of the body-snatched teens from A’s recent past searches for A to get answers. This plot, while highly engaging, winds up feeling unresolved by novel’s end when we find more people with A’s unique ability who have learned to grow roots inside a body and keep it. It was a huge revelation that has no follow-through to it, and a sequel seems unlikely.
Ultimately the novel creates an engaging case study on identity that seemingly any teen should identify with. Teens constantly face change–adolescence into adulthood, high school to college, etc–and seeing A’s daily struggle can help some find their footing in that difficult time. It can also help transgender, gay and lesbian teens struggling with their own identities, as A lives through those lives and can be read as an allegory of transgender life.
David Levithan’s Every Day fits into the genre of young adult fiction that revolves around realistic teens, but with a fantastical element to keep sci-fi enthusiasts reading. Fans of John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson will surely appreciate David Levithan’s fiction.
You can find a copy of David Levithan’s Every Day at your local chain bookstore, online or at an independent bookstore near you (click here for a list). You can also download the eBook to your favorite reader (Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc).