Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: Every Day

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.

First off, Every Day was unlike anything I’ve ever read. A spirit/soul jumping around from body to body within a certain range, but never living in the same body twice? Yeah, it’s definitely unique.

For the purpose of this review, I’ll refer to “A” (the spirit/soul) in a masculine form, as the voice sounded male to me. I will say that “A” certainly had his own identity, though.  

Imagine hopping around from person to person, inhabiting a body for one day only, never dwelling in the same body twice. This is how “A” lives. He doesn’t know how it all started, or why he is the way he is, but he knows the routine and attempts to cause as little interference as possible. When “A” meets Rhiannon for the first time (he occupies her boyfriend’s body), he feels a connection stronger to her than any he’s felt before. From this point forward in the story, he’s obsessed with being around Rhiannon as much as possible.  

Okay, here’s my take: While I think it’s great this book delves into the idea of true love, no matter what race, gender, or sexual orientation someone is, there’s still an insta-love connection between “A” and Rhiannon. And I think what bothered me the most is that “A” had no consideration for the fact that Rhiannon was already in a relationship. What does he do? He tries to break them up. That’s right—“A” is a homewrecker.  

I also felt like Levithan attempted to throw every possible traumatic teenage scenario into this book. I don’t even want to list all of them, but every time “A” was in someone’s body, it turned into a teenage angstfest. You get a teenager who has a drinking problem, a teenager who lives in poverty, a teenager who lives a privileged lifestyle, a teenager who has strict parents, a teenager who wants to commit suicide, etc. I mean, the list literally goes on and on. And while “A” created a vow never to interfere with a person’s life while he’s in their body, he bends the rules to accommodate Rhiannon, because he’s infatuated with her. This leads me to my next problem.  

During many of “A’s” experiences in other people’s bodies, he causes them to do things they normally wouldn’t do. Like, say, skip school. Or go to a party. Or forego a mini vacation out of state. The result of his careless attitude leaves one guy knowing he was possessed. This leads to a media frenzy, because the kid believes he was possessed by a demon. But even though “A” swears he’s not a demon, isn’t what he does the same thing as a demonic possession? The people he possesses have no control over their own bodies while he’s in there. They don’t share. Yet in the book, “A” condescendingly admonishes anyone who believes in demonic possession, which is, in fact, a real occurrence. Sounds a bit hypocritical to me. It’s during this religious whirlwind that “A” learns he’s not the only one who possesses bodies. But does he make any attempt to figure out what he is, where he came from, or who these other entities might be? Nope. He’s solely focused on Rhiannon.  

Last but not least, while I love the idea behind this novel, I felt like heterosexuality was scorned, to a point. For instance, if “A” was in a female’s body and he visited Rhiannon (she does learn his little secret), and he wanted to kiss her, Rhiannon was not up for it, because she’s straight. It’s weird for her, because (1) she’d be making out with a complete stranger, and (2) that stranger happened to be a person of the same sex. She’s not comfortable with it. You would think “A” would recognize this and understand, but he doesn’t. He pushes her to try and see past the exterior, which I GET, but nobody should be pressured to do anything they don’t want to do. Period. And while I like the idea that this book has something for everyone (as far as sexual orientation goes), I just felt like homo, trans, and pansexual orientations take the cake, when all sexual orientations should be equal in nature. I mean, that’s kind of the point in writing a book like this, right? You don’t write a book about the true meaning of love and then make one sexual orientation feel like they’re doing something wrong. That’s what I got from it, anyway. Take from this what you will.  

Overall, I enjoyed the premise for the story; it’s different and original. I didn’t really care for the ending; it was too abrupt and felt unfinished. I did, however, like Levithan’s writing style, and I think the underlying message of finding love, no matter what size, age, race, gender, or sexual orientation a person is, is more influential than any other principle in our world. Love is something that transcends society. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, where you come from, how old you are, what clothes you wear, how much money you have in your bank account, who you’re attracted to—love exists in all of us. It’s the one thing we all have in common, other than being human. And to be loved in return? That’s the most powerful gift of all.
**ARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

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