ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) to be released August 28, 2012. Alfred A. Knopf (Random House). 336 pp.
This is my first ARC review (picked up at the recent ALA conference) for this blog, and boy was it a good one! David Levithan has written other books for teens like “Boy meets Boy,” and collaborated with other authors on “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” and “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” However, I think “Every Day” is one of his finest.
I purposely didn’t read the summary on the back cover because I wanted to be surprised and, within the first few pages, I was hooked. A 16 year old boy, who goes by the name of “A,” has never known what it’s like to live as himself. For some unknown reason, he has the ability to switch bodies randomly and does so on a daily basis. This has been going on since he was a young boy and, over the years, A has only been able to figure out that the bodies he inhabits are never older than 16, can be male or female, and can never be inhabited twice.
As I read I thought of the many times teens (myself included) have wondered what it would be like to live in someone else’s life. The caveat is we get to switch back to our own lives if that life seems a bit too much for us. Fortunately for A that works for him too except, if he actually liked that life, he will never get to live it again.
A’s managed to live 16 years of his life existing on a day to day basis, with no emotional pullings towards any of his bodies, until he meets Rhiannon. Suddenly the thought of never seeing her again, and of never being able to have a future with her, is more than A can handle. The life he’d become used to has now become a burden. Despite the unusual circumstances in which he finds himself every day, A is determined to do something to get closer to Rhiannon.
A’s body swaps seem to be made up of bits and pieces from the lives of every teen Levithan has ever met. In “Every Day,” he has placed these lives into a story that seamlessly draws their bodies, personalities, and loves into opportunities for readers to find themselves. A’s thoughts, as well as his caring and acceptance for each life and love, whether male/male, male/female, female/female in which he finds himself, allows readers to think about their own preconceived notions of how they may be viewing others from the outside as A shows us their inside thoughts.
High school readers will empathize tremendously with A, and his every days. RUN to buy it when it’s released in August.