Book review: Every Day by David Levithan

Little I knew when I met American author David Levithan at an event in London hosted by Penguin Random House in 2015, to promote his latest book Hold Me Closer, that his novels would become huge bestsellers and popular movies. 

From that first meeting, I have become a huge fan of David Levithan, particularly of his 2012 novel Every Day, which is a New York Times bestseller and now a movie. 

Every Day is a young adult romance and fantasy novel written recommended for ages 14–18. A sequel titled Someday is scheduled to be released in 2018 and I am already very excited about it. 

The story 

Every Day is about the story of A, a soul in incorporeal spiritual form, who wakes up occupying a different body each day, accessing that persons’ memories and essentially becoming them for 24 hours before inhabiting another body involuntarily. They have no gender and go by the pronoun “they”, and they have known no life other than the one they lead. A chose their own name as a small child but has never shared the story. A never inhabits the same body more than once and, despite having no body, has grown up and aged as they started as a baby and always inhabits hosts their age as years go by. Up until the story’s beginning, A strives to respect the people they possess and sticks to their routines as closely as they can. A keeps a personal email where they write their thoughts. Other than this they have no life of their own. 

The story begins with A waking up in the body of a teenage boy named Justin. Upon arriving to school, A meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, and feels an instant connection to her. Based on Justin’s memories, A can tell that Justin and Rhiannon are having a rough time in their relationship, so in order to learn more about her, A invites her to the beach. The pair open up to one another, though A’s sharing is limited and very carefully worded. A had never felt such a connection with anyone before, and so attempts to discover a way by which to stay in Rhiannon’s proximity in days to come. A then does their best to convince Rhiannon that the day shared at the beach was not between her and Justin, but rather between her and A.

A spends almost every day following this event trying to figure out the best way to approach Rhiannon, since they are luckily never more than just a car ride away.

A’s fascination with Rhiannon means A begins to pursue their own goals more, causing them some moral conflict. After going through some trouble, A is finally able to convince Rhiannon of who they are, and the phenomenon they experience every day. While she does believe A, and understands how hard it must be, she also realises that a relationship with A would be impossible, even if she wished to be in one. As the story progresses, we follow A as they wake up in body after body, still chasing Rhiannon. Meanwhile, they are forced to contend with a boy whose body A inhabited early, and who tracks them down in order to gain answers as to who A is and how they were able to take over their body and mind, as well as a priest working with said boy, who gathers a following of people who inhabit the bodies of others.

The verdict

Every Day is a very romantic story that goes beyond the gender stereotypes. It’s the story of true and unconditional love like we have never seen described before in literature and films. For me personally it is a genius piece of work.

It is very relatable to teenagers of our time who are trying to defy gender stereotypes and are obsessed with the search for the nature of true love. Every Day is written in a very fluid language that transports you to a world where the impossible becomes possible. It is clearly a fiction book, but as a reader you tend to believe in everything, or maybe you want to believe that such a thing exists. This happens because it is such a poetic and romantic idea. Levithan shows an incredible talent for empathy and optimism about the odds for happiness and for true love. 

Film adaptation

Read my review of Every Day which was adapted for the big screen and released in April this year. The movie and, of course the book in the first instance, made me feel light during and after watching it. In a world full of hatred we all need positive messages and both authors and film makers have their share of responsibility to spread them. 
Unlike the Hunger Games series, which has a lot of violence without resolving the issue of the rich-beautiful / poor – ugly divide, Every Day is a teenage flick that leaves you with the message that love is not just about liking someone’s appearance but especially their personality. Although the message is deep and we are all familiar with it, it is difficult for us to believe that you can love someone you don’t find yourself physically attracted to. But this movie makes you understand how this can happen because love strikes the deepest cords in our heart in the most beautiful ways. And the best part is that it does not end in the most obvious way. In fact the ending showcases the ultimate act of love.

The trailer 

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MjBQZ3vpZM” /]

 

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