Wendy Darling's Reviews > Every Day

Every Day by David Levithan
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What makes us fall in love--and what makes us who we are?

Those are the questions at the heart of this novel, which tells a thoughtful, touching story that will surprise readers with its sentient literary style and gentle feeling.

Everyone longs for human connection, but 16-year-old A.'s search for it seems to be a losing proposition. Every day, for as long as he can remember, he wakes up in a different body: sometimes as a girl, sometimes with a different ethnicity, sometimes with a different sexual orientation. He's long recognized the futility of trying to create lasting relationships, but everything changes when he meets Rhiannon, a girl who makes him want things he's never thought possible.

This story reminds me of one of my favorite TNG episodes with a similar concept, and A. also follows a sort of prime directive in his self-imposed policy not to interfere too much in his "host's" life. He is, for the most part, a very likeable protagonist who doesn't wallow in self-pity or maudlin emotion, and it's interesting to see how skillfully the author retains A.'s sense of self and personality even within very different people in very different circumstances. One of my favorite things about this book is how we catch a glimpse of all the lives that A. touches; some of the manifestations are humorous, some of them are incredibly sad, and some of them are downright harrowing. There is also a tension and urgency in the story from various different sources, most notably in the form of someone who is relentlessly pursuing A. for his own dangerous reasons.

The things that some more logic-hobbled readers (heh, I am coining that term!) won't like about this book are precisely what I do like about it. I like the book's more quiet, philosophical bent, and I actually like that we don't get any answers as to why this happens to A. Frankly, they're not necessary--this story isn't about that, and had the author attempted to invent specious reasoning for the wheres and whyfores of this concept, this would have been a very different book. A. obviously makes some mistakes in judgments--haven't we all?--and I do think his relationship with Rhiannon developed rather suddenly, as she's a fine enough girl, but I never really understood why he liked her so much! But for me, this all worked within the confines of this story concept. I accepted that in the course of living countless lives in A.'s lifetime, something in this girl at this time called out to him. And sometimes people just come along at the exact right time in your life when you desperately need it, and A. is very much in need of being loved. And perhaps even more importantly, he is very much in need of being acknowledged.

"The tenderness between two people can turn the air tender, the room tender, time itself tender. As I step out of bed and slip on an oversize shirt, everything around me feels like it's the temperature of happiness."

Things become very difficult, of course, once Rhiannon learns about A.'s unique circumstance. It's hard to fault anyone for having trouble accepting the fantastical premise, as well as the reality of living with it, because after all, a big, big part of love relies on both the thrill and the comfort we find in another person's familiar presence. The struggle that these two have to reconcile what they want with what is realistic is poignant though ultimately, still very hopeful. By the end of this pensive, bittersweet novel, your heart may rend in two, because the purest form of love is perhaps when it involves some form of selflessness or self-sacrifice. But there's a great deal of beauty--and comfort--to be found in that, too.

This is my first time reading David Levithan. But it won't be my last.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.

Recommended for: fans of A Certain Slant of Light, for those who were intrigued by the body-switching concept in Mercy, and for those who might've yearned for a more mature, tender feeling from Tempest.

Win an Every Day ARC! And make cookies, too!

We're giving away an Advance Readers Copy of this book on the blog. And hey, this review was powered by peanut butter cookies! By special request from Cassi you can download the free recipe card, too.

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Quotes Wendy Darling Liked

David Levithan
“The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations - all of them rearranging themselves so this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.”
David Levithan, Every Day

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

David Levithan
“The tenderness between two people can turn the air tender, the room tender, time itself tender. As I step out of bed and slip on an oversize shirt, everything around me feels like it's the temperature of happiness.”
David Levithan, Every Day
tags: love

Comments (showing 27-76)

Bonnie I've only read one book by him and I loved it - The Lover's Dictionary. :)

Wendy Darling I have to read that one! And you have to read this too, Bonnie, I think you'd like it. :)

Bonnie I was JUST contemplating whether I should request it from Netgalley! Way to seal the deal, Wendy. :D

Wendy Darling You know I live to egg you on, hee hee. By the way, I picked up a few grown-up books from ALA that I thought you might be interested in reading, and I have some YA titles I'm going to tour to friends, too. I'll send you an email soon!

Bonnie hahaha Grown-up books. (I call them big-girl books) :D

Wendy Darling I wrote "adult books" at first, but I thought that might be misconstrued! I did not come home with armfuls of porn.

Bonnie Lol! I'm not sure I would have thought that at first but I can see other's doing a double-take.

Wendy Darling I must have a dirty mind, because I'm self-conscious every time I add a book to my "adult" shelf. And I wonder if people browsing my shelves ever think I mean something different.

Bonnie I have a 'diiiirrrrrrttyyy' for that exact reason. I like being up-front and honest. haha!

Wendy Darling Hah hah, I love it! I should probably add a "smutty" shelf or something like that, too. Not that I've read anything for it lately, but it's nice to be able to sort them when you need to.

How've you been, Miss Bonnie? Have you set a date yet? Kids driving you nuts over the summer break?

message 66: by Bonnie (last edited Jul 03, 2012 10:20PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bonnie Yes, I'm quite crazy when it comes to shelving books properly. They have to have the proper shelf! :)

Things haven't been too bad. No date set but we're considering Autumn 2013. But nothing concrete yet. Kids are indeed driving me loony! But then again, that's nothing you.

How are things going for you?

Wendy Darling Oh, autumn weddings are nice! We got married in September and it was absolutely perfect. :) That's good you'll have time to plan for it.

Things are busy busy busy here, there's a lot going on with us this summer. I haven't been able to catch up with messages and such yet, but it's been nice to dip my toes back in here at least. Have you read anything good lately? I've been meaning to check out your shelves to see if the Deborah Harkness lived up to your expectations!

Bonnie Yeah, I love the colors but Autumn can be so strange here in Reno. It could totally snow and that would be horrible. But yes, plenty of time to plan. :)

You know, I've been reading A LOT of mediocre books lately. I did finally get around to Grimspace though and that was quite good. Oh and I FINALLY read On the Jellicoe Road.

Oh man... that Deborah Harkness is KILLING me. It took me weeks to get to 50% and I still have yet to finish it. Epic disappointment so far. I blame it on me getting so anxious for it... I'll finish it eventually but am in no rush unfortunately.

Bonnie You've still been reading during your Goodreads-vaca right?? I should check out your Read shelf. :D

Wendy Darling I've been reading a ton this week, and have really lucked out--I've had a number of 4 star reads lately. Of course, it helps to have a bunch of books to pick and choose from so that you can just move onto the ones that engage you, too, if you're not feeling any one particular book.

I'm sorry the Harkness is going so slowly for you! That's just the worst, when you look forward to something so much and it's not as good as you'd hoped. Incidentally, I saw your note on my review of The Raven Boys. I didn't want to answer there (I'll explain later), but I am really excited that you won a copy! I'm curious what you will think--we seem to rate all the Maggie books very similarly. I actually liked that one, with some reservations.

P.S. Did you know David Levithan is Maggie Stiefvater's editor, btw? I had no idea until Rachel covered that booksigning for our blog awhile back and filled us in!

Bonnie I have a ton of books and I could easily move on but I hate giving up (even when I need to). I need to learn how to just set it aside and come back to it another time but If I set it aside though I very rarely get back to it.

Yeah, I remember reading that on your blog post, I thought that was really interesting. I really loved The Lover's Dictionary but I haven't had a chance to read more by him!

message 60: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek Hello ladies. Bonnie, don't tell me the bad news about Deborah, I LOVED Discovery, already have Shadow but need to read DoW before I start SoN so it'll be fresh in my mind. I LOVE David, so excited he's coming out with new material. I loved Boy Meets Boy and The Lover's Dictionary is on my list to read. I love his writing style, and gotta love the pro-gay/well written LGBT books. :) I take it to get it early, I need to go through NetGalley, Wendy? Hopefully they'll approve me for a copy. Or can you hook a brother up? :)

Wendy Darling Bonnie wrote: "I have a ton of books and I could easily move on but I hate giving up (even when I need to). I need to learn how to just set it aside and come back to it another time but If I set it aside though I very rarely get back to it."

I'm the same way, Bonnie. I've been getting better at admitting that I just won't back to something, but I still have dozens of books that I've set aside hoping to get back to someday. I still want to give the first Harkness book a try at some point.

Derek, I got my copy from ALA, but it sounds like it was on NetGalley--I'm also going to be giving away a copy on the blog soon, so stay tuned!

I've been meaning to read this author forever, and I'm kicking myself that I haven't done it before this. I really like the way he handled the LGBT theme in this book--it's just there, and a fact of life. And with or without it, the book is strong. I got Boy Meets Boy for a dollar at the conference too, so I'm excited to start that soon as well.

message 58: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek Yeah, I just tried to get it from netgalley, but got denied. :( I hate getting that email, it makes me feel like I am not good enough lol. His LGBT writing is some of the best in the genre in my opinion, it helps that he is gay in real life in my opinion, Boy Meets Boy is good, but not one of his best in my opinion, seemed sort of written for a younger audience, but still worth a read. I will be looking to your blog then. :) I am the same way as well, there are only two books that I haven't finished but might plan on finishing, Matched and Inkheart. With Matched I was just like this is crap, but it was good enough for a sequel, so I might give it a shot again at some point. Inkheart I just stopped in the middle somewhere, though I was young, so it's a possible pick up as well. Wendy, get on Harkness's first book, it was quite awesome.

Bonnie Derek wrote: "Hello ladies. Bonnie, don't tell me the bad news about Deborah, I LOVED Discovery, already have Shadow but need to read DoW before I start SoN so it'll be fresh in my mind. I LOVE David, so excited..."

You won't get any spoilers from me, Derek. :) Re-reading Discovery of Witches is HIGHLY recommended as I was incredibly confused because hardly any re-capping is done in Shadow. I know a lot of people that have loved Shadow of Night so it could very well just be me. Hope you enjoy!

message 56: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek Hopefully I will, though I need to get through The Sense of an Ending first. It's not a bad book, just not a good page turner either, it's interesting, so I feel obligated to get through it, then on to Discovery.

Bonnie That one is on my TBR list... I think because it won the Booker Prize last year? Maybe. Too many books to keep track of in my head. haha

message 54: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek Yeah, it won the Booker, it has some great quotes, like the kinds in movies that you always want to use but the right situation never comes up so you can't. :p

Bonnie Or you remember that line 5 minutes after the moment it was perfectly suited for? Happens to me all the time. :)

message 52: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek ALL the time. Sense is good, one of those books that makes you feel superior or high brow for reading it, like you need to polish your monocle, kind of how I felt when I read A Single Man. Like I was part of the literary elite, haha.

Bonnie I feel the need to go read a book like that frequently. I find it necessary after reading massive quantities of YA to go find a 'big-girl' book. haha

message 50: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek I always am looking for good 'big-girl' books, can either of you recommend some? Preferably contemporary fiction.

Bonnie Hmmm... I've enjoyed all books by Sarah Jio, Isabel Wolff.
I really enjoyed The Snow Child but it has a bit of 'fantasy' mixed in.
I'll have to think more. My mind is drawing one big blank at the moment.

message 48: by Derek (new) - added it

Derek As it always seems to do when asked a question so direct haha.

Bonnie haha... Yes. Plus, contemporary is not one of my top read genres.

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Glad to see you liked it. I am looking forward to reading this one.

Jennifer I just finished this myself, simply amazing book.

Savindi I pre-ordered this book last week! I read the google preview and it seems like something I'd enjoy. I'm also a David Levithan fan. I can't wait to read your review Wendy!

Cassy I've read LOTS of David Levithan and really, I've loved just about all of it. I think Realm of Possibility was the only thing I wasn't thrilled with and that's because I'm not really a poetry reader. The writing was still simply fantastic. I recommend picking up Boy Meets Boy. There's just something about it that makes you love it. It's so feel good. :)

message 42: by Donna (new)

Donna I read the summary and it sounds like a YA version of Quantum Leap! I MUST read it! And your stamp of approval just seals it for me.

Sycris I just bought this book yesterday and this will be my first David Levithan book too. I hope I'll get the same reaction as yours. And looking forward to your review. =)

Wendy Darling I hope all of you enjoy it. :) I did.

message 39: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Glad to see this was so good, Wendy! I've been watching to see if any of my Goodreads friends read it to see what they think. :)

Wendy Darling I thought it was lovely, Kathryn. Not the typical action-driven thriller, but a more introspective book with a fantastical premise. Hope you enjoy when you get around to it!

Michelle Wonderful review Wendy :) I'm off to enter the giveaway and get that recipe...did you say those cookies were gf? My mum will be over the moon!

message 36: by K. (new) - added it

K. Love the review and love the cookies, Wendy! I'm so glad this got a thumbs up from you. I loved Dash and Lily's Book of Dares and I'm hoping I'll love Rachel Cohn and David Levithan as individual writers as well.

And about the "philosophical bend", I agree. I'll accept and believe anything, so long as it convinces my heart :)

Wendy Darling Thanks Maree! And yes indeed, those are gluten-free cookies. I swear they'll be the best peanut butter ones you'll ever taste. I'm glad you're entering the giveaway, too!

I was not a huge fan of Rachel Cohn's Beta, but I hear Dash & Lily and her Cyd Charisse books are very good, K. You read this, I'll read those!

And oh, you put it so perfectly. I'll accept and believe anything, so long as it convinces my heart.

*sigh* Same here.

Jennifer I've been waiting for your review. So well done and it captures everything I thought about the book as well. I still want to shout from the rooftops about it. :)

Jennifer Oh and I remember that TNG episode! You're right, they're pretty similar.

Sandra Excellent review. I'm still all emotional about this book.

Wendy Darling Oh, thank you Jennifer! I really liked your review, too. I think readers who don't mind unanswered questions will be the ones who appreciate this book. And yay for life-long Trekkers!

Aw, we are giving away a copy of the book on our blog, Amber. But regardless, it's a book worth supporting if you can, hah.

Thanks so much, Sandra. It's a very unusual and beautiful book, I'm glad to hear you were moved by it, too.

Wendy Darling Sure thing! I'm glad you entered. :)

message 29: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia Gray Ha - I know that TNG ep! I'm intrigued by the element of pursuit - I hadn't expected that from the description at all! And not from a David L book...hmmmmm...

message 28: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin I really enjoyed this review, Wendy. What an interesting concept... off to check out other reviews of the book.

message 27: by Wendy Darling (last edited Sep 06, 2012 12:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wendy Darling It was one of the best episodes, Cecelia! And yes, the pursuit is not the driving force of the plot, but it's there. And it actually develops quite gradually in a very interesting way.

Thank you, Erin. I really like the concept behind this novel too, but more importantly, the execution was also extremely satisfying. Hope you enjoy it, too!

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