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Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day (edition 2012)

by David Levithan

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1,6651734,317 (4.03)43
Title:Every Day
Authors:David Levithan
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, YA, 2012 reads

Work details

Every Day by David Levithan

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Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
This is a very good book. 10/10! I absolutely love the premise of this book, and it's written beautifully. Another great book by David Levithan. ( )
  oddree | Nov 21, 2015 |
See full review @ The Indigo Quill

I had seen this book on the end caps at Barnes & Noble all year long. The premise sounded highly intriguing: undefined wandering soul travels from body to body every single day and never repeats the same person twice. One day, they awake in some dude's body and fall obsessively in love with his girlfriend, and thus, the plot thickens.

The wandering soul calls themselves A, and the girl's name is Rhiannon. The fascinating part about this whole thing is that A has no consistency. A is not defined by their gender, hair, eyes, height, or anything else. A can't even have a cell phone number because there's no way for them to keep track of it. The only way to reach Rhiannon is email.

Until this point, A just went through motions trying to give their host another normal day so it wouldn't be suspected that they had basically been "possessed" for 24 hours. However, once Rhiannon enters the picture, things change, and A is no longer satisfied with the inconsistency.

Aside from the fact that it's really hard not to use pronouns while talking about this book, it was incredibly interesting to step outside of societal roles and experience the world from the point of view of someone who was first of all, gender neutral, but also had to live a life with no true stability. It raises a lot of interesting questions, such as: What makes a person? Is it the way they look, the family they are raised in, the kind of trouble the stay in or out of? Is it their addictions, depression, lack of self control? And what is love? Can you truly love a person if their image changes every day? Is physical attraction and familiarity as important to loving someone as we think it is, or is it actually a supernatural occurrence between two souls? This book really makes you think.

I liked how Levithan chose to put the reader into the minds and bodies of different types of people. He communicated the thoughts and feelings of people who struggle with drugs, suicidal thoughts, obesity, and even those who live sheltered lives. In my opinion, it was a great opportunity to cover such subjects and lifestyles. And it's entirely realistic that A would wake up dealing with people who were experiencing these things. It added to the story so we weren't just reading about his obsession with Rhiannon the whole time.

It seems a handful of people were completely disgusted with this book and felt like A violated other people's lives (and this is kind of a spoiler, so beware). Honestly, when I saw the reviews I thought A went "too far" with Rhiannon or something, but they didn't. If you think about it, what would you do in that situation? 16 years of never having your own life. Of never being surrounded by people who love and know you. You are always a stranger, and you are always different. Every single day for 16 years, you're alive, but it's like you're a ghost because no one knows that you exist. What would you do?? I'm surprised they made it 16 years! You have to have some inhumane amount of maturity and self-control to continue living like you were never even born, especially when love is mixed in the picture. I probably would've liked this book less if A was given the supernatural ability to just "respect" their owners. That would have made a really boring book, too.

The only major thing that I did not like about this book, was that although it had a lot of interesting things to say about gender-neutrality, there were moments I felt like the author was trying to force their opinion at the reader by A forcing their way of thinking toward Rhiannon. When Rhiannon was having trouble accepting that A was neither male nor female, A would think things like "so we need to fix her way of thinking." It's one thing to want her to accept gender neutrality, but it's another to basically say something is wrong for a straight person to be straight and want to continue being straight. That's that same as all the controversy of trying to force homosexuals to be straight, so I feel like Levithan missed the mark here. And it wasn't done very well, either...because I felt like I wasn't reading the story at that point. It just felt like the author's opinion.

So altogether, I thought this book was absolutely amazing. It's definitely a fresh premise that offers a lot of deep thinking and perspective. It's also a very easy and fast read.

I was doing a little research and it looks like Levithan might be releasing a second book from Rhiannon's perspective. There's a lot of controversy as to whether this is a good thing or not, but I guess we'll see! ( )
  TheIndigoQuill | Nov 7, 2015 |
@every_day +will_grayson ( )
  Lorem | Oct 2, 2015 |
As I seem to say for almost every book that I have picked up this year: I really thought that I was going to like this book more than I did. I am having some seriously bad reading luck this year. I was hoping that Every Day would break that slump, because nearly everyone I know who has read the book has enjoyed the book immensely. So I figured that I would enjoy it as well, too? Right?


At first, the book doesn't start out too badly. A, the main character, wakes up every morning in a new body. This has been happening as long as A can remember. A never inhabits the same body twice and is often a few hours away from his previous day's body the next day. This, of course, makes it nearly impossible for A to form any attachments to anyone...that is, until A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of Justin, a body A is inhabiting. A falls in love with her - and, really, one can't define that as anything but instalove - and then tries desperately to show Rhiannon who A is and to have a relationship with her.

The book is well-written, I must say, although the book comes across as incredibly preachy at times. Diversity is good and A doesn't identify as any specific gender. That's cool. And it's also cool that A is incredibly kind and understanding about every body A inhabits, from those who are queer to those with mental illness to those who have done some horrible things.

And then we get to day 6025, when A inhabits the body of Finn, a three hundred pound young man. And A's kindness, tolerance, and understanding goes out the window. A, who showed compassion to EVERY FREAKING OTHER PERSON A INHABITED IN THE ENTIRE BOOK, loses all of that when it comes to Finn. A calls Finn the "emotional equivalent of a burp." A doesn't want Rhiannon to see A in Finn's body, because Finn is sweaty and gross. And although A talks about the disgust that others feel towards Finn's obesity, A shares it - A is profoundly relieved to be "normal sized" the next day. A showed more compassion to the girl who killed her brother while driving drunk than the fat kid. Seriously. Apparently every single person deserves compassion, kindness, and understanding...unless they are fat. Then they're gross and need a traumatic memory implanted in their head to make them stop eating so much (A considers doing this, even though A has taken great pains not to interfere in others' lives, to the point that A finds out that a girl he is inhabiting plans to kill herself in six days, and A is going to just do nothing until Rhiannon convinces A to do something. But, hey, that girl was thin! So her life is worth saving! Fuck the fat kid, though.) To say that this made me rage is an understatement, and that chapter seriously ruined the entire book for me.

And once that happened, all of the other problems that I had been willing to put aside came to the surface.

Logically, the rules governing A's existence make little to no sense. A is tethered to a geographical area and can only end up somewhere new if A's host body travels there. And as A can never inhabit the same body more than once, and A only inhabits those who are around A's own age, this gives A fewer and fewer possibilities. What if A's host travels to North Dakota or Alaska? What if A runs out of possibilities? Why is A seemingly caught in the meaningless, man-made distinction of state boundaries (A is currently in Maryland but never inhabits a body in any of the very close-by adjacent states)?

But don't worry, things change at the drop of the hat for convenience! A goes from not knowing what a host body remembers the next day to being able to perfectly craft memories for the host body at the drop of a hat, with no trial and error!

I also didn't find the "love story" very compelling. A goes from trying not to disrupt A's hosts' lives as much as possible to doing incredibly reckless and stupid things with the host bodies, all so A can see Rhiannon. The hosts skip school, get in trouble with their parents, get grounded, miss flights to their sister's wedding in Hawaii - all in the name of A being able to be around Rhiannon. I don't find this romantic at all, and the whole "love story" gave me the skeeves a little - A often just shows up at Rhiannon's school to watch her. Oooh, yeah, stalking is so sexy. Not.

Rhiannon often gets cast in a less-than-favorable light because she is more attracted to A when A is in certain bodies than others. I feel that this is unfair. A can be all preachy as hell as much as A wants, but in the end, it seems that Rhiannon is attracted to a certain type of person - a male person. And that is her right. She doesn't HAVE to be pansexual - isn't that the whole point of sexual identity, that it ISN'T a choice? It's not Rhiannon is CHOOSING to be straight - she IS straight. And it doesn't mean that she doesn't love A (which is what the general tone seems to be, because she's only attracted to certain bodies A inhabits). And it doesn't mean that she's being shallow, which I think is entirely unfair to her character. And I say all of this as a queer person myself. Honestly, I felt rather bad for the character of Rhiannon, because she's being set up to contrast A's acceptance of everyone (except fat people, who should never, ever be accepted or treated like they could be attractive AT ALL).

And then the ending. A realizes that A can't stay - there is someone out for A - so A "sets up" Rhiannon with the host A is inhabiting, Alexander. A thinks that Alexander would be good for Rhiannon, so A MAKES Alexander like her. Fucking what. Apparently Rhiannon can't ever be alone, so A just finds some replacement for A and figures that Rhiannon will like that. And she does. What the fucking hell. This is like the worst ending I could possibly think of for this book. Is the author just trolling us here?

I just can't. I'm done. I don't know if I will ever pick up another book by this author (and he writes queer books, so I'm super disappointed in that) because this book has just soured me, possibly beyond repair, when it comes to David Levithan and his writing. Blech. ( )
  schatzi | Aug 12, 2015 |
The narrator/protagonist is a spirit that moves from body to body every day. This science fiction/fantasy concept allow the author to ponder sex/gender issues as the teen age protagonist lives quite a few lives and provides many different homes and lives from the fictional internal observer's point of view. We see the protagonist fight to maintain a relationship for the first time over multiple days with a teen age girl. Although the protagonist has no particular gender preference I found myself thinking of the protagonist as male heterosexual but the author does an interesting job of maintaining the character. I was happily surprised to find this was the first of a series. The character has an interesting path ahead. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
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Book description
Every morning A wakes in a different person's body, in a different person's life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307931889, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012: Every Day is technically for young adults, but the premise of this unusual book goes much deeper. It asks a question that will resonate with the young and old alike: Can you truly love someone regardless of what they look like on the outside? The main character, A, wakes up every morning in a different body. Day to day, A can be male or female, any ethnicity, any size, and in any type of household. The only constant is that he (we'll go with that pronoun for convenience) is 16. A has been body jumping for as long as he can remember, and he has learned to not leave behind any trace of his presence--until he meets Rhiannon. For the first time in his life, A feels a true connection with another person. But can she love him back? Levithan handles their romance with great aplomb, building to a poignant and beautiful ending that took my breath away. --Caley Anderson

Amazon Exclusive: Day 5909, a Story by Author David Levithan

Every morning, [the book's main character] A wakes up in a different body and a different life. The novel Every Day starts on Day 5994 of A's life. For this story, I wanted to go back to a day in A's life before Every Day. Think of this as A recounting a few passing moments from his past.

--David Levithan

Download the short story [PDF]

An Essay from the Author: A Similar Kind of Love Song

Recently I was reading an interview in OUT magazine with Romy Madley Croft, the lead singer of the band the xx. Croft, talking about coming out, told the reporter, “If I was singing about a guy, I would probably be singing a similar kind of love song, really.” And I was struck that the same thing applied to my writing—especially with my new book, Every Day.

Every Day is about A, who wakes up each morning in a different body and a different life. It’s not giving anything away to say that in the first chapter, A falls in love with a girl name Rhiannon . . . and that their relationship is rather complicated.

So there I was—a gay man, writing from the point of view of a character who is neither gay or straight, male or female. A has no inherent race, no inherent religion. A has grown up without friends, without family. A is purely a self. Whereas I, in my culturally and societally constructed life, am not.

It should have been hard to write as A, but it wasn’t. Because I found that, no matter which body A was in, I was singing a similar kind of love song.

Ever since Boy Meets Boy, my first novel, was published, I’ve received thousands of letters and emails from readers. Some of the most interesting ones have been from people who were surprised that they, non-gay or non-male, identified so deeply with the love story. Love is love, more than one reader wrote to me. And I thought, yes, that’s it exactly. (I almost want to put it as a tip on my website, for all those students who write to me telling me their teacher has assigned them to identify the central theme in my work. Well, there it is. Love is love.)

In Every Day, I wanted to look at that theme from a variety of angles. I wanted to test that theme, and find its limitations. Where A starts in Every Day is where many of my other characters—my will grayson in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, for example—reach at the end of my other novels. That is, they recognize that in order to love and be loved, they must be true to themselves. A is always true in this way. Writing A made me realize that this is one of the more helpful questions you can ask about love—if I were truly myself, only myself, and not a gender, and not a sexual orientation, and not a race, and not any other external designation . . . what would I want? What would I do?

A gets to live this ideal. But Rhiannon, who doesn’t change bodies, is challenged to match it. This is the great conflict in the book, and informs one of the questions I posed to myself as I wrote it: Does love indeed conquer all? Or, in other words, does our world always allow love to be love?

Again, I come back to that phrase “a similar kind of love song.” I like that she doesn’t make them the same. I like that they’re similar. There are certainly different challenges, at some times, in some places, with a gay love story. I often try to illuminate that experience in my writing. But there are also the same universal emotions. Joy is joy. Fear is fear. Vulnerability is vulnerability. Just like music is music, writing is writing, and love is love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:29 -0400)

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Every morning A wakes in a different person's body, in a different person's life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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