A Book Review Of Every Day By David Levithan
Imagine going to bed as a 34-year-old Sicilian-American book blogger, wine enthusiast, and yogi extraordinaire and waking up as a Jonas Brother. Or, imagine going to bed as a Hillary-loving, tree-hugging, Me Too Movement, carrot-crunching activist who majored in history and understands the Holocaust and waking up as Donald Trump. Add in some romance, and you pretty much have Every Day by David Levithan. Well, this comparison is actually a tad shallow. David Levithan is on a mission to explore humanity at its core whereas I am just thinking up nightmare scenarios.
Levithan’s Every Day is the perfect adult and teen read in honor of Pride month. Don’t forget the recent February arrival of Every Day to the big screen, which I still need to see. After my last post on Great LGBT Books for Teens, I had to review another Levithan title. As Anthony Bourdain was my travel idol, Levithan is my LGBT+ young adult lit superhero.Imagine going to bed as a 34-year-old Sicilian-American book blogger, wine enthusiast, and yogi extraordinaire and waking up as a Jonas Brother. Think David Levithan's Every Day. Click To Tweet
David Levithan vs John Green
David Levithan, like John Green, has the ability to not only enter the human psyche but also somehow explain its inner workings to the world. Whereas Green is raw, emotional, and falls more under the category of realistic fiction, Levithan adds an almost eerie but surreal twist to his stories. Two Boys Kissing has narrators that are both alive and dead. Every Day is an out-of-body-experience–no pun intended–and a not quite creepy exercise is possession and exorcism. Religious fanatics, don’t get me wrong, this body exchange has less to do about religion and is more like a Freaky Friday meets gender fluidity.
Most important, the main character, A, questions what is important in life and relationships. What really makes us, us? Does sex matter? Age? Physical appearance? Are we still the same person inside? Do we love the same? Do we deserve to be loved the same? While these questions aren’t new, Levithan’s approach to dismantle gender and physical beliefs is truly brilliant. I have always loved reading for that other worldly experience, and somehow Levithan makes readers explore outside of the box, even within fantastical realistic fiction. Yup, I just made up my own genre there.
Please note for this review, I am using the pronouns they/them for A since gender is non-binary and A takes on many personas.
Imagine Waking Up Every Day In A Different Body
Every Day A wakes up in a new body: An obese teenager who can barely move, the most beautiful black girl in school, a pothead, a transgendered boyfriend, a suicidal daughter, and a girl who killed her brother while driving under the influence. A has been everywhere and borrowed just about every body type. Over the years, A has learned to live with never having the option or strong desire for a tomorrow. Tomorrow is Groundhog Day in a sadistic, learn about all of humanity’s struggles kind of way.
Enter Rhiannon. Love and relationships become a lot more complicated when your outside appearance constantly changes. Or does physicality have to complicate romance? A falls for Rhiannon as she is pretty irresistible and open minded. A cannot stay away and technically begins stealing that day’s body to see Rhiannon. Does A have the right to do this kidnapping? Neither teenager knows what’s best and how to move forward.
Being a teenager is hard–pimples, homework, fitting in–without having this mystical and unexplainable body swapping arrangement. With their relationship tested, Rhiannon must determine who she loves and how she can love them. Is it possible to have a relationship with the same soul but a different body every day? Who are we without our shells? Would you be able to recognize the love of your life on the street in a new body? No spoilers here but the ending is smart and a bit of a surprise.
This post is filled with questions because tearing down conformity is the point of Every Day. I dare you to pick up this book and not start questioning self, love, beauty, and gender.
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David Levithan Is My YA LGBT+ Literary Hero
After reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Two Boys Kissing, I wanted to see what else Levithan had to offer. While Every Day certainly incorporates Levithan’s almost always present LGBT+ themes, he goes one step further: Who are we, and how are we all interconnected? Readers learn about empathy and appearances in a unique concept: spend the day walking in someone else’s shoes. Truly, but also as yourself.
As an added touch, I listened to the audiobook version of Every Day published by Listening Library. Sometimes Levithan will narrator his own books but this time Alex McKenna performed Every Day. I had to Librarian Google Alex McKenna to determine her gender. I thought that her asexual reading added to the realism of A switching back and forth between genders. Once again, even McKenna’s gender does not matter. Touché.
Who Will Enjoy Every Day:
Every Day is a great read for teens looking to find themselves and for those who really want to believe that there is more to a person than just their looks. Levithan addresses our basic human needs and adequately evaluates love, the soul, and the body. He gives us hope that mostly our hearts, kindness, and souls count—a cliché that teenagers hear all too often but do not fully believe. Geared toward 7th grade and higher, in 2013, Every Day was an ALA Best Books for Young Adults Winner, an ALA Best Books for Young Adults Top 10 Winner, and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Adults may enjoy this read to better understand contemporary views on gender. Find a copy here: Barnes and Noble Amazon
You can check out more of David Levithan’s work on his site here.
Book Copy: Every Day by David Levithan (Ember 2013)
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