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'Every Day' by David Levithan: A different kind of story

Fascinating idea for a different kind of love story
Fascinating idea for a different kind of love story
courtesy of Knopf

every day by David Levithan

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David Levithan imagines what it would be like to wake up in a different body every day. That's what happens to "A," who never knows if he/she will wake up as a boy, girl, black, white, or anything else. "A" doesn't even know if he is a he or she is a she. A becomes whatever gender the body of the day is.

When A wakes up in Justin's body, he gets to meet Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon, and he falls in love. Yes, she seems like a nice girl, but A falls hook, line and sinker. The problem? A doesn't know what body he/she will wake up in the next day.

So A does something he/she has never done before. A highjacks the body and goes to visit Rhiannon -- almost every day. As a girl, A pretends to be a new student. As a boy, A manages to run into her. Finally, he confesses and eventually Rhiannon believes him.

The book is a love story about an impossible love. How can you love someone who will jump out of whatever body he/she is inhabiting at midnight and end up in another body somewhere else? How do you explain that to whoever is left in the body after midnight?

The book is engrossing and fun to read.

There are the descriptions of the various bodies that A inhabits, including an underage Hispanic maid, an extremely obese guy, a drug addict, a suicidal girl, and then, inexplicably, Rhiannon. Each new day brings a new body and new challenges. A tries to be a nice guy/girl no matter what, but as her/his obsession with Rhiannon grows, there's nothing else A really cares about.

A strikes the reader as a nice guy and the premise is fascinating. The plot definitely requires a suspension of disbelief by the reader -- and since the plot involves an entity jumping into bodies daily, I guess that's not a problem here.

Personally, I would have liked to learn more about the jumping aspect. What the reader gets is a lot of A stalking Rhiannon, checking email to see is Rhiannon has emailed him/her, driving distances to see her, and begging Rhiannon to see him/her.

It seems most readers either really love this book or analyze it too carefully and don't care for it. My thought -- read it for fun. Don't analyze it. Don't think about how it wouldn't really work -- it's fantasy. Just enjoy the creativity of Levithan's thinking and his very enjoyable writing.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Knopf, for review purposes.

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