Because there’s no day that begins with B so I can’t make it alliterative, I’ve decided Tuesday is now Book Review Tuesday.
Instead of reviewing a few at a time, whenever I have time, I’m going to be reviewing books one at a time, once per week. I’ll include 3 main things: the Goodreads summary, so you know what it’s about, the first 250 words of the book, so you know if the writing style is for you, and my favorite quotes, because I love quotes.
Sound good? Let’s begin then.
Today’s book: Every Day by David Levithan
First, the Goodreads summary:
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
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.
So the premise of this book is super weird. I definitely wasn’t sure I would like it. But it was really the first page that hooked me:
I wake up.
Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body–opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long of short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.
Every day I am someone else. I am myself–I know I am myself–but I am also someone else.
It has always been like this.
The information is there. I wake up, open my eyes, understand that it is a new morning, a new place. The biography kicks in, a welcome gift from the not-me part of the mind. Today I am Justin. Somehow I know this–my name is Justin–and at the same time I know that I’m not really Justin. I’m only borrowing his life for a day. I look around and know that this is his room. This is his home. The alarm will go off in seven minutes.
I’m never the same person twice, but I’ve certainly been this type before. Clothes everywhere. Far more video games than books. Sleeps in his boxers. From the taste in his mouth, a smoker. But not so addicted that he needs one as soon as he wakes up.
“Good morning, Justin,” I say.
Yeah, I was totally hooked.
Have you ever wished sometimes you could wake up in someone else’s life for a day? For A, this actually happens. Every day. Your protagonist lacks many things a typical protagonist has: a name, a face, a body, a gender, even. Throughout the course of the book, s/he’s male and female, attractive and ugly, fat and thin, happy and depressed, from good homes and bad ones, white, black, Asian.
It’s utterly bizarre. But it works.
For starters, David Levithan is a fantastic writer. And despite lacking a name, face, and body, A is a fantastic narrator. S/he has a super-unique perspective, which can be summed up in this quote:
It’s only in the finer points that it gets complicated and contentious, the inability to realize that no matter what our religion or gender or race or geographic background, we all have about 98 percent in common with each other. Yes, the differences between male and female are biological, but if you look at the biology as a matter of percentage, there aren’t a whole lot of things that are different. Race is different purely as a social construction, not as an inherent difference. And religion–whether you believe in God or Yahwah or Allah or something else, odds are that at heart you want the same things. For whatever reason, we like to focus on the 2 percent that’s different, and most of the conflict in the world comes from that.
The book might have flailed a bit if it weren’t for the one unifying aspect: Rhiannon. The book starts off with A meeting her, and after that day, s/he can’t stop thinking about her. Most of the book is about A trying to find his/her way back to her, both of them dealing with the weirdness of the situation, and also some other complications that arise. But I don’t want to spoil them for you.
Other favorite quotes:
You like him because he’s a lost boy. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen before. But do you know what happens to girls who love lost boys? They become lost themselves.
I want to tell Rhiannon all about it. Because when something happens, she’s the person I want to tell. The most basic indicator of love.
The clock always ticks. There are times you don’t hear it, and there are times that you do.
I like to grade books on a 1-10 scale, because 1-5 doesn’t account for enough nuances. I give it an 8/10 (mostly because I reserve 9s and 10s for all-time faves), which means I really, really liked it and think you should read it as soon as you get a chance.
Have you read this book? What did you think?