Monday, May 11, 2015

Every Day by David Levithan

Mind blowingly amazing!

From Goodreads:

In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique" love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.

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.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Rating: 5 stars

Every Day is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve ever read; I think this book has left its mark and years from now I will still talk about it and recommend it to everyone who listens. It is a captivating beautifully written story, full of depth and wisdom, which will leave readers pondering the lessons learned long after they finish.  This was my first David Levithan novel (I previously read his short story in “My True Love Gave to Me” and like it very much); I am now adding all of his books to my to be read list. I found the concept of the book to be a very unique mixture of contemporary fiction, romance, and science fiction. It’s a bittersweet love story that emphases the power of human connections and the importance of self-identity.

The book is filled with memorable quotes. I will post a few of my favorites throughout this review.

"Falling in love with someone doesn't mean you know any better how they feel. It only means you know how you feel."

“Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over.

I know how wrong this is.

When I was a child, I didn't understand. I would wake up in a new body and wouldn't comprehend why things felt muted, dimmer. Or the opposite--I'd be supercharged, unfocused, like a radio at top volume flipping quickly from station to station. Since I didn't have access to the body's emotions, I assumed the ones I was feeling were my own. Eventually, though, I realized these inclinations, these compulsions, were as much a part of the body as its eye color or its voice. Yes, the feelings themselves were intangible, amorphous, but the cause of the feelings was a matter of chemistry, biology.

It is a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again.” 

The premise of Every Day is quite simple, sixteen year old named A wakes up every day in a different body. A is neither male nor female (I will refer to A as “he” as the review goes on just to avoid confusion); I think of him as a wandering soul. There are no set rules that A must follow and no patterns to the body he inhabits, there are no gender, ethnicity, or physical appearance restrictions; therefore, A has developed a self-identity that transcends each of these.  The only constant in his life is his age. A is aging at a normal pace and he inhabits bodies that are the same age as himself.

"I wanted love to conquer all. But love can't conquer anything. It can't do anything on its own. It relies on us to do the conquering on its behalf."

He has learned over time what he can and cannot do in surviving his day-by-day existence. I was very intrigued by A as he is able to maintain his own identity through the ever-changing beliefs and feelings that he has access to when inhabiting a body.  To aid with remembering and storing his memories he created an email account in which he can write to himself.

“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.” 

“Self-preservation isn't worth it if you can't live with the self you're preserving”

The story starts with A inhabiting the body of a boy named Justin, who has a girlfriend, Rhiannon, that he very often mistreats. During his day in Justin’s body, A goes against the rules he set for himself (never get attached) and takes her to the beach and ends up falling in love with her. Desperate to hold on, he saves Justin’s email and password in his own account so that he can follow up with how Justin and Rhiannon are doing.

“People are rarely as attractive in reality as they are in the eyes of the people who are in love with them. Which is, I suppose, as it should be.” 

“If you stare at the center of the universe, there is coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn't care about us. Time doesn't care about us. That's why we have to care about each other.” 

The next day he wakes up in a different body, but the love he has for Rhiannon is still there, getting stronger with each passing day. We are introduced to many different characters that have a great impact on the reader. There are many bodies that A inhabits, and each provides a unique insight and learning opportunity for the reader.

“If there's one thing I've learned, it's this: We all want everything to be okay. We don't even wish so much for fantastic or marvelous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough.” 

“Kindness connects to who you are, while niceness connects to how you want to be seen.” 

I absolutely adored A! I thought of him as the gentlest of souls. He was respectful to his hosts, he tried to never harm them, left them as he found them, and carefully considered the impact of the decisions he made while inhabiting the bodies. He is intelligent, understanding, patient, opinionated, passionate, and so much more. He accepted his fate and tried to make the best of each and every day. At times I found it hard to accept the hopelessness of his situation; he is alone, no one knowing of his existence. Until one day when everything changes.

"People take love's continuity for granted, just as they take their body's continuity for granted. They don't realize that the best thing about love is its regular presence. Once you can establish that, it's an added foundation to your life."

An extremely powerful read that hopefully will change the readers’ perspective on life, love, and the power of human connections. David Levithan is an excellent writer that managed to break my heart and put it all back together without all the pieces fitting quite the same as before. I would recommend this book to all, regardless of age, gender, and ethnicity, as it has the unique ability to touch everyone in a different way. Words cannot explain how much I adored this book.

“If you want to live within the definition of your own truth, you have to choose to go through the initially painful and ultimately comforting process of finding it.” 

1 comment:

  1. This was another great pick for our sunday read along. We'll have to figure something out with my new schedule for the summer. I agree with everything as usual. I would say a big warning for some feels throughout though. I wasn't prepared for the feels and they caught me off guard and made me a tad bit mad by doing so as I was reading at work and got caught all teary.

    I thought of A as a he as well. Seeing so many different aspects and people and the way different people live each time and how he is able to be fair to them, as much as possible, and not take advantage. Lots of things to think about in the book.