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.
Tell Me More: A is someone for whom distance is key–life itself depends on remaining an observer, never getting too close and staying under the radar. But while the concept behind A’s life might be fascinating, I never once felt emotionally compelled by it or invested in the story. In some ways, the distance necessary to understand the changes A experiences also made it difficult for me to love the story. In fact, it was precisely this distance that gave me reasons to dislike it.
Objectively speaking, Every Day is a well-written novel. The writing is as impeccable as I’ve come to expect from David Levithan, and the themes he choose to highlight are thought-provoking as always. His use of language was particularly intense in a chapter where A wakes up as a drug addict. It was stark and raw, bleedingly so, and it reflects the experience of losing oneself as eloquently as anyone could probably put it.
Where the story failed to hook me was the romance between A & Rhiannon, which was really the only thing that ever motivated A during the entire novel. I felt like I was being told that A loved her more than I could actually feel it. Rhiannon’s ordinariness may have drawn A to her, but it didn’t draw me in. And as the book went on, I grew more and more uncomfortable with how A pursued her, recklessly endangering every host he entered after Justin (Rhiannon’s boyfriend). I could probably understand A finding an opportunity to talk to her if the host that day attended the same school, or if A saw her on the street, but driving hours away to a party? Lying unnecessarily and messing with the lives of the people A enters? Certainly, A did not mean any harm. But that line comes very close to what most stalkers say, and I was disturbed by how it felt like I should be cheering A on.
If what Levithan meant to do was illustrate the tangled threads of obsession and infatuation and how they can chip away at a person’s soul, then he succeeded. But as much as I can appreciate the technical beauty of the prose, A is not a protagonist that I felt comfortable getting to know, and the story left me feeling as though I’d been taken for a ride and left out in the desert to fend for myself, without any sort of real closure.
The Final Say: Every Day is a novel that will make you reconsider the people you pass every day on the street, the friends you know and the relationships you have in a new light, though it doesn’t quite manage to say anything concrete about those new perspectives other than that you should have them.
David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.