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Book Review: David Levithan’s Every Day

3 Oct

It’s amazing how much reading you can squeeze in when you’re stuck on a plane for 9 hours. But this isn’t about how I read Breaking Dawn cover to cover–that’s for another blog.

The book that really made its mark was David Levithan’s Every Day. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

It’s about this teen, A, who keeps waking up in a new body. Each day, A gets to “be” this person–interacting with their friends and family, going to school, etc. But A has created a moral code to live by: don’t rock the boat and leave no traces.

The plethora of people-types he inhabits is impressive: guys, girls, jocks, nerds, druggies, gay, straight, transgendered, spoiled, abused, smokin’ hot, allergied, obese, etc. Because of this fluid life, A shows us the human potential of total acceptance. And really, how can A judge when he walks in everyone’s shoes?

Anyways, all of this switching bodies stuff is cool with A–until he falls in love with one of his host’s girlfriends.

All together now: AUGH!!!!!!!!!

Sure, it took me two and a half paragraphs to get to that revelation, but Levithan slaps you across the face with it in the first few pages. Right when you’re still trying to get used to this zany concept—SLAP.

I LOVE this trust in the reader to trust the author (does that make sense?). So often authors try to set every teeny aspect of the scenario before showing the readers why they should even care about the setup. Levithan just says, Screw it; you’re smart. Let’s get going with my clever idea already.

Levithan does an A+ job (pun intended) at keeping A from being creepy as he actively stalks this girl he loves. When A destroys all of his boundaries to blindly make the relationship work? Yep, we’re cheering him on. And despite the “magical” setup, Levithan keeps every other aspect of the story based in reality–and we cry at the desperation of it all. (Seriously. Tear-jerker. The last line of the 2nd to last chapter? Yeah. Like a kick to the chest.)

The best part, though, was the limited knowledge of A; he knows no more about his origins or purpose than we do. And really, A is asking the same existential questions we all are: Why are we here? How did this happen? Why am I me and not you? It was being behind the closed curtain alongside A that made the book come together so perfectly. We suffer A’s pain and confusion and anger inside the book–and then turn around and ask ourselves the same questions.

So. My biggest take away as a writer? Don’t explain everything. We really don’t need to know.

Check out this much more eloquent review of Every Day from Entertainment Weekly. Also, discover David Levithan’s other genius work here.

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