Monday, December 3, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

Every so often, I come across a book that is nothing like I have ever read before. The plot is fairly straight forward, but the complications for the characters are many.

Every day, A. exists inside a different person. Never the same person twice. No matter the gender, race or situation of the person, A. becomes that person for the day. He/she wakes up never knowing what the life will be. I will leave you to discover some of the other conditions of living such a life (like age and geography) - some subtle, others very obvious as we follow A. through each new day.

For the most part, A. is content to exist this way seeing life in a big picture sort of way; knowing what it is like to be a drug addict or have loving parents or be obese or a bully. It is the continuity of personal relationships that is missing. But that all changes when he is Justin, a do nothing high schooler who happens to have Rhiannon for a girlfriend. For the first time ever, A. is in love - truly in love, not just experiencing the feelings of the person A. inhabits. It is questionable whether Justin really loves Rhiannon at all, but A. knows he does.

So how can A. be with Rhiannon when he changes bodies every day? One day he is a sheltered homeschooled guy and another a very attractive African American girl (Beyonce like). Will Rhiannon ever understand or even believe it is possible? For A., it has always been important to not mess up the life of the other person. But how can he hold to that and see Rhiannon at the same time. It is a slip up that causes one of the people to tell the world that he was possessed by the devil. Suddenly, A.'s secret life is not so anymore.

If you want to dig deeper, there is so much to say about this story. About identity (A.'s sexuality is in constant flux). About seeing the world from many perspectives, but losing out on personal relationships. About the use of the devil as a way to explain people's motives. About how we are perceived based on our outward appearance and how that affects who we are on the inside.

All that aside, it is a fascinating story with an unusual protagonist in a fantasy situation who grapples with basic human problems.

For more info about this book, check out the Evergreen library catalog and the author's site.

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