CBR-V Review #46: Every Day by David Levithan

So I picked this book up with the intention of just starting it…and finished it two and a half hours later. This is a seriously addictive book!

Every Day is the story of A, an undefined entity/being/soul that wakes up every morning in a new body, basically supplanting the being  that the body belongs to. It has always been this way, since A can remember–A has no body of its own, no family, no true identity. A does, however, have its own thoughts and feelings and even its own email address that it uses to keep track of the bodies its inhabited and the things it has experienced. For the most part, A just floats along and does its best to not disrupt the lives of the people it inhabits, until one day it wakes up as Justin, a teenage jerk who just happens to have a beautiful, near-perfect girlfriend, Rhiannon. A falls in love with her, and the rest of the novel is its attempt to preserve that relationship and keep her close while still shifting from body to body.

This is a beautiful story–a true love story–that, I’m not ashamed to admit, had me in tears by the end. A is a really well-developed narrator, one that I felt for and cared about, and the pain that A experiences (and A’s true loneliness) really came across. I was completely invested in the story and just had to keep reading to find out who A would “be” next and how its story would play out.

It’s a totally implausible scenario that Levithan gives enough gravitas to feel real and possible, and I commend him for never devolving into gimmicky-ness. I really enjoyed the broad spectrum of people that A “encounters” from day to day, as each had their own story to be told. A improves the lives of some, and inevitably hurts the lives of others (especially as he becomes more and more involved with Rhiannon, and more desperate to keep her), but clearly respects all of them. I think these observations of the new bodies sometimes felt a little too much like afterschool specials (a depressed/suicidal girl, an obese guy, a drug addict), but Levithan generally is mindful of that and doesn’t cross the line too often.

My other (minor) complaint is that Levithan doesn’t delve into the why and how of A. He touches briefly on the idea of there being others like A, but leaves it largely unexplored. I would have been really interested to learn more about this phenomenon and to understand who these beings are. Not knowing didn’t ruin the book for me by any means, but I was definitely left curious and wanting to have more information.

Anyway, there’s not much else I can say about this book. It’s a very good read, especially if you like well-written YA fiction, and it’s surprisingly heavy for a book that goes so fast.

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