Thank you NetGalley! Full disclosure, I volunteered to review Every Day by David Levithan from NetGalley, a service that sends free e-books to librarians and such. Most of the time I end up reading okay to marginal to flat out bad books from this website, but this is a diamond in the rough. Every Day will be released on August 28, 2012, so mark that day in your calendar. If you are a fan of YA lit, you won't want to miss this book.
What if every day you woke up in a new body, a new life, a new place? Would you still be you, or would you cease to exist, just float from one person to another. That is how A lives. Let's say A is a male soul for the sake of argument, but gender is very fluid with A. Some days he's in a female body, other days male, and he has no control over it. This has been going on his whole life.
Then, when he inhabits Justin for one day, A falls in love with Justin's girlfriend Rhiannon. They share an incredible day together with A in Justin's body and now, no matter what body he inhabits, A tries to get back to Rhiannon.
But several days after meeting Rhiannon, A inhabits Nathan and goes to a party in his body, but cuts his time limit close. Much like Cinderella, at the stroke of midnight, A is ripped from one body and taken to the next, so A leaves Nathan in his car on the side of the road and the only way that Nathan can explain this is that he's been possessed by the devil. Now, A has two big problems. He is in love with a girl he can't be with, and he's being hunted.
There are so many parts of this story that are intriguing. First, how A uses email and the internet to stay connected to his own person. He has his own accounts, so he has some way to stay in contact with Rhiannon and even Nathan. Second, the lives of the people that A inhabits are so diverse. They are always 16 year olds, the age that A is currently. But one day he's a jock, the next a drug addict, then an illegal immigrant cleaning houses. He can access memories and some skills, but not all skills, like sports and music.
Finally, gender and identity play a big role in this book. What is you identity? Is it your appearance or who you are on the inside? Does your gender even matter, or is that just arbitrary? These are heavy questions that book groups will have quite a time discussing.
David Levithan is a skilled writer indeed. No matter what type of person A is that day, he is always the same A, the voice is always consistent, yet the reader is able to picture him as all of these different people. Instead of A becoming a different person every day, it's his body that becomes a different person.
I highly recommend Every Day to teens, librarians, and anyone that works with teens. It does have a strong story line about accepting yourself for who you are, so there are several teens that are gay, lesbian and transgendered. I find this refreshing, but some parents and teachers are going to find it troublesome, and maybe they need to read this book more than anyone.