When I first read the back blurb for Every Day, it immediately piqued my curiosity – and the story did not disappoint. The creativity of the plot line + the captivation of a doomed love story = magic. I’ve realized that stories (and endings) like this one aren’t really my type, but I can still appreciate a good story (and the chance to use gender-neutral pronouns!).
A spends every day in a new body. It’s a fine way to live life… until A falls in love.
I don’t really know how to describe this book and the characters because it’s such a new premise for me. A has the ability to live in a different person’s body everyday – or, should we say, that’s just how A‘s life is… there’s never a repeat of a certain body, so A can go from being an eleven-year-old girl in California one day to an eleven-year-old boy in New York the next, and only limit is that it’s usually someone of the same age as hir.
Every day I am someone else. I am myself — I know I am myself — but I am also someone else.
It has always been like this.
The story starts at Day 5994 in A‘s life (roughly 16 years old) and lasts 40 days, in the span of which A falls in love, reveals hir actual identity, starts what I guess we can call a long-distance relationship, and is tempted to stay in one body forever. The first-person narrative is candid and full of short, definitive sentences. A‘s personality is not really emphasized, as the body that ze is in (and that body’s friends/family) influences hir personality for the day. A is, in my opinion, essentially a soul without a tether, without the need for gender pronouns. Can you imagine a life like that? A life where your memories are the only things that are yours – everything else, like your friends, your family, your aspirations, your environment… they’re all ephemeral. Would you be unwilling to let go?
That’s what ends up happening to A – ze gets emotionally attached. I’m not sure what the emotional equivalent is for the rest of us… regret? What we feel is someone leaving us, not us leaving them, but I think that’s a similar enough feeling. It sucks. And Every Day truly conveys that feeling through this unique premise. Levithan is able to portray the ordinary through the extraordinary, and shows us that it’s okay to feel that way. (Although I know that there’s a sequel, so he might make it more idealized? Not sure…)
Every Day is another book that I think people will either love or hate. Its strengths are its uniqueness in character and perspective, but its weaknesses are its lack of climactic moments and definitive ending. For myself, this book is somewhere in the middle, but I do appreciate it as something different from anything else that I’ve read.