By David Levithan
Available now from Knopf (Random House)
Please note: due to the nature of this novel, I sometimes use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to A. I like the zie/zir construction.
David Levithan is prolific and celebrated, and EVERY DAY is his best book yet. It's an imaginative premise brought to fruition by lovely writing and a focus on story rather than politics. It's an absolutely wonderful novel it's really no surprise that it has received rave reviews from professional newspaper critics.
A has neither a gender nor a sexuality. A wakes up every day in a different body, inhabiting that person's life for a single day before moving on at midnight. One day A wakes up in Justin's body and falls in love with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. Suddenly A is differing from zir hosts' normal lives to see her. One of those hosts even realizes that A was there. But A keeps taking risks, because it's love.
David Levithan has a lot to say about people. Since A moves between races, sexualities, genders, and body types, A can see pretty well past the surface and treat everyone as equal. But zie is not perfect. A has issues with understanding long-term consequences and can be very pushy with Rhiannon. (Sometimes way too pushy for my taste.) And EVERY DAY stays focused on the narrative rather than drifting into polemic. The passages where A ends up in the body of someone depressed or addicted drift the closest, but it doesn't overwhelm the story.
I haven't seen many reviews that mentioned Nathan's hunt for A, but it really is an interesting aspect of the novel. It's the event that prompts A to wonder what zir hosts remember after zie leaves. It leads to A experimenting more with zie's relationships to zir hosts. Considering how much I love speculative fiction, I liked that A's existence had rules and that the mechanics of zie's existence where explored.
As for the romantic storyline, it was interesting to see A's obsession with Rhiannon. I don't think I believe that Rhiannon will be zie's only love, as they are still teens, but I do believe A believed that. The first chapter, when they meet, is just perfect and really made me want to read on and see how things went for those two crazy kids. I think Levithan delivered.
EVERY DAY is a wonderful book that will appeal to teens and adults. Lots of books have cool concepts, but few back up that concept with a truly great story. But Levithan has the chops to pull it off.