Michelle's Reviews > Every Day

Every Day by David Levithan
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's review
Jul 26, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: ya-magical-fantasy, 2012-read, inkys-2013, usa-ya

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Every day A wakes up in a different body. A has learnt to live with this and is resigned to the fact that this is fate. A has strict rules when it comes to interfering with the bodies A inhabits for the day, accessing their memories just enough to make it through the day without being noticed and never becoming too attached. Then A connects with Rhiannon and suddenly A has something to live for, to look forward to every day. Suddenly A has something which lasts more than one day.

While I’ve certainly never read something quite like this, the body-hopping premise is remarkably similar to one of my favourite TV shows, Quantum Leap. However, rather than relying on Al and Ziggy to help him, A ‘accesses’ the host’s memories to help navigate the day. The thing I love most about that show and this novel was the glimpses into other people’s lives. Through A we step into the lives of so many different people, each with their own story to tell and a lesson to teach. Yet, I loved that throughout the various lives A visited, the narration had a unique and well-developed voice. Although A remains genderless throughout the novel, the narrative voice felt more masculine to me (so, from now on I will refer to A as a male).

In some cases A helped the people he visited, in some cases he just made it through the day, but in other cases he broke his own rules and interfered with the lives of the hosts without much thought as to their wellbeing in the future. A justifies some of these decisions with statements about how the hosts have their whole lives ahead of them, that this day will just be an inconsequential blip on the radar, “a slight, barely noticeable aberration”. While this may be true, I couldn’t really believe that after so many lives and so many days, A would completely abandon the self-imposed rules for the sake of seeing Rhiannon. I was also annoyed when A got angry at Rhiannon for not being able to love him every day despite the body he was in, while judging some of those bodies himself. I think the chapter which really bought this home to me was the one where he was an obese young man; the judgement in that particular chapter made me feel slightly sick. I don’t quite know how to articulate my complaint, I just felt that maybe a little bit of understanding about any deeper issues behind Finn’s obesity wouldn’t have gone astray.

The sub-plot involved A being pursued by Nathan, one of the bodies he inhabited and misused in an attempt to reach Rhiannon. At first this intrigued me, however, it soon began to grate as Nathan’s story became well-known and more people confessed to believing they had been possessed. A’s contempt of these people annoyed me; he had in fact possessed Nathan and used his body to his own advantage. I didn’t blame Nathan for believing he was possessed, after all, he woke up on the side of the highway with only a vague memory of being at a party out of town. In my opinion A was in the wrong and, while Nathan may not have dealt with it in the best way possible, A was really in no position to judge his beliefs. I was also sad to see the sub-plot, which held so much potential, fizzle away to nothing in the cray-cray final quarter.

Reading this, in ways, was like watching a cartoon after a certain age. It had a magical quality to it, but I did worry that if I looked too deep this would disappear. The story required the reader to suspend belief and offered no explanation as to the specifics of A’s situation. Similarly, I overlooked the instant love A felt for Rhiannon. Personally, I enjoyed just escaping into this and focussing solely on the story, but I think those going into this expecting a reason for A’s body-swapping or a deep and well-founded relationship would be very disappointed.

The ending felt extremely rushed as everything was tied up in a neat little package. A was ultimately portrayed as being selfless, considering he somehow could have chosen to completely possess the body he was in. However, he chose Rhiannon’s ending for her and didn’t really give her a choice. As lovely as the ending was theoretically, I couldn’t really overlook this.

In saying all that, this was a beautifully written novel. I loved Levithan’s lyrical, magical writing style and found myself completely absorbed in this story despite my complaints. I really, really wanted to love this, but there were just some things I couldn’t possibly overlook. While it was certainly an enjoyable reading experience, I think in future I might just stick with Quantum Leap and its super catchy theme tune.

This review and many more can be found at Maree's Musings.

Thank you to Text Publishing for providing a copy of the book for review.

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Reading Progress

July 26, 2012 – Shelved
August 8, 2012 – Shelved as: ya-magical-fantasy
October 23, 2012 – Started Reading
October 23, 2012 –
page 20
6.21% "First thing I love: the writing style. It just really appeals to me. So far this is kind of dreamy. I'm loving it!"
December 21, 2012 –
page 76
December 22, 2012 –
page 165
December 23, 2012 –
page 166
51.55% "Woohoo a kid who's obsessed with The Beatles :D"
December 24, 2012 –
page 277
December 24, 2012 – Finished Reading
December 26, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012-read
June 30, 2013 – Shelved as: inkys-2013
February 1, 2015 – Shelved as: usa-ya

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Flannery I hear you on everything in this review. And I also agree with you that the further away I get from it, the less I like it. (as you wrote in the comment on the blog) I totally agree that it was beautifully written but I thought A was a condescending jerk most of the time, that the Nathan subplot was a complete mess, and that, while I loved the contemplation of what it was like to have no true family, appearance, etc. of one's own, the story was ridiculously attached to a teenage romance.

Michelle Thanks Flann - this concept had so much potential it's kinda sad that it fell so flat.

message 3: by Jenna (new) - added it

Jenna I totally agree with you on everything.

Manish Exactly my thoughts!

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