Sometimes you hear about a book over, and over, and over again. And then despite your reasons–despite the “it’s really not my genre” and the “I look at it every time, but it’s just never grabbed me” and the hesitation–you finally pick it up. And you’re a little confused.
- Author: David Levithan
- Publisher: Knopf, Listening Library
- Year: 2012
- Genre vibe: I hesitate to say contemporary, but it’s certainly not supernatural or surrealism.
- At a glance: Every day, A wakes up in a new body, and a new life, and yet is always still A, an individual. Then A falls for Rhiannon, a girl who’s boyfriend’s life A wakes up in one day. Existential outlooks on life ensue, as does the pursuit of potentially starcrossed romance.
So I’ve heard a lot about David Levithan. And I’ve heard a lot about this book. And I understand why.
I picked up the audiobook of EVERY DAY to start adding a bit of enrichment to my 30-minute commute between college campuses every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It was a fantastic idea. This book was my first car-stereo victim, and I will say this–it plays well with an audio medium. I run into problems every now and then with audiobooks in that I wish I could see the story unfold in front of me in the form of pages past and pages to come, just because I’m not a very auditory person. But Every Day works pretty well.
This story isn’t a complex one. A wakes up every day and has to learn another random person’s life. Then A moves on. In a bit of a statement, A is not a boy or a girl, A is A, and they struggle throughout the book with getting love interest Rhiannon to come to terms with this. Despite being prominent, the message didn’t take over the story, and I think that the story may have even suffered a bit for it. Because here is the thing about Every Day: Every day, it is something different.
A has a lot of thoughts, as someone who has had this particular experience with life would. And they’re very interesting, very insightful thoughts. The things I believe the book is meant to be built on. The only problem with A’s interesting thoughts is that they’re sparsely placed, and when they do crop up they’re disjointed from the events going on. Prompted by them, sure. But deeply connected? Not really. A has a tendency to run off on tangents, and those tangents are quite honestly the best part of the book.
Every Day is very well crafted. The flow of the plot, the pieces that are all put together. It works, as a whole piece. But some of the elements, like the rabbit trailing, are just a little too off from the original color. Towards the second half of the book, I found myself a little bored (and not just because of the commute drive). In my pondering as I thought about this review, it came down to this: even though the book went on and on, the choices A made never changed shape.
By the second half, it was always easy to figure out what would happen, because you knew what A was going to do. A’s arc didn’t…take them anywhere. The Big Twist came and went, and A still chose what they would have in the beginning. And then, before I knew it, the end was happening, and then it was over, and I didn’t know what had just happened. And every day became “the end” and that was…all. A promise of an experimental sequal that I’m pretty sure won’t have the answers I’m looking for, and a character arc that didn’t end up anyplace but back to how A had been doing things in the beginning.
So I hesitate to cry disappointment. I really do. Because I enjoyed myself, and absolutely it was an experimental story, which I’m always up for. But in the end, I think my gut was right: it’s not quite for me.
- Rating: 3/5 stars
- Recommended to: Honestly, I’m not sure what kind of person would like this book. Sagittarius, probably.
- Lasting impression: Candlelight. So much driving. (on A’s part, not mine.)