Saturday, March 15, 2014

Everyday: An Alternative YA Romance

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 28th, 2012
Literary Awards: American Library Association Rainbow List Top 10 (2014) and  YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults (Top Ten) (2014)
Format: Library Copy
Genre: YA; Contemporary; Alternative; Romance; Fantasy
Rating: ✎✎✎

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

My Thoughts and Reflection:

I wouldn't say that I'm an expert on David Levithan's work, but I would say that I am familiar with it.  I have read Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which he co-wrote with John Green!!!) and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (which he co-wrote with Rachel Cohn).  I guess that this is my first book that is written solely by Levithan.
Anyway, I've had Every Day on my to-read list for a while, and when I saw it a the library I picked it up because, why not?

I love the beginning of this book.  Just after reading the first paragraph, the reader is thrust into our protagonist's world.  We feel their emotion, feel their struggle.  The set-up and explaining in this book are quick and to the point.  Within two pages of the beginning the reader rarely needs further explanation for the magical concepts in this story.  Levithan paints a wispy, dream like premise.  Despite the bizarre circumstances, A is a very relatable protagonist.  The reader feels all of this empathy for A's situation.

I thought that A was a complex protagonist.  They are quite relatable in their feelings.  They feel these raw emotions about family and relationships.  This story gives a new perspective on separation anxiety.  
This story focused mostly on the annoying romance between A and Rhiannon.  Rhiannon was such a real character; so much like a lot of teenaged girls.  That's what defined her and ruined her.  Yes, she was one of the most realistic characters that I've read in YA, she was almost too realistic.  I just couldn't concoct with Rhiannon, so that made me distant from this story. 

I wish that with this concept of waking up in a different body every day Levithan had focused more on the family side instead of the romantic relationship side.  I know that the family concept was talked about, I just wish that it had been more of the focus.

I also wish that Levithan had explored more about the gender ambiguity that A has.  In this story, it's more a problem in relationships than just being something that A thinks about.

I wasn't exactly impressed with the plot.  It was sort of boring a predictable.  All of the characters actions had obvious consequences, or there was just wayyyy to much obvious foreshadowing.  However, Levithan does have a talent for beautiful writing.  Here a couple of my favorite passages;

"This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world.  It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot.  The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible.  And when It's just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be." (Pg. 175)

"It is my father who looks diminished now.  As if when someone close to us dies, we momentarily trade places with them, in the moment right before.  And as we get over it, we're really living their life in reverse, from death to life, from sickness to health." (Pg. 266)

I felt that we didn't get to know any other secondary characters, which was disappointing.  Secondary characters are some of my favorite parts of stories, because I love how their lives impact the protagonists so greatly.  But anyway, I missed getting to now more about the other lives in this story.

Overall, I was less impressed with this book than anything else that I've read my Levithan.  I really liked the premise, except I disliked the focus on romance.  I really enjoyed some of the character development, but found it lacking in other places.  Overall, the magical writing really held the poorly plotted story together.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:

I love that this cover is in black and white, I think it adds a layer of simplicity to the story.  I like the clouds and the floating characters, except that I dislike that they made A be a male.  He is not a male for the entire book, and I wish that A's gender ambiguity had been more properly represented on the cover.

In Other News:

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