Welcome back to Standalone Saturday, a feature in which I highlight a book that does not have a sequel or a prequel.
REVISED 11/30/12 Now that statement must be corrected. Every Day now has a novella prequel called Six Earlier Days. Check it out here!
by David Levithan
To be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
On August 28, 2012
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley. Here's my FTC disclosure statement.
"I am a drifter and as lonely as that can be, it is also incredibly freeing."
Every day, "A" wakes up in a new sixteen year-old body. Every day, A has to navigate a new life, be a different person, try to fit in just enough but not too much. Because within 24 hours, A will be someone completely different. Then one day, A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Rhiannon, Justin's girlfriend. Rhiannon and A have a perfect day together, and Rhiannon says she wishes every day could be like that.
"We'd only get tired of it," I tell her. "It's best to have it just once."But A isn't being entirely honest. For the first time, A wishes for forever.
My take: Every Day was profound, funny, thought-provoking, touching. Because A wakes up in a new body each day, the reader watches A live a wide range of human experience: male, female, attracted to boys/girls, rich, poor, black, white, Asian, overweight, happy, suicidal... But A is deeply lonely. There is no point getting attached to friends, to family, to a place, to a life. The next day, A will be somewhere else and someone else.
Every Day is a book that subtly reminds the reader that each day is something to be treasured. It's easy to forget that. Every Day is also about the universality of love. Unless I missed something, we don't know A's gender. All we see is that A's connection to Rhiannon goes beyond the corporeal.
A book with these sort of themes could easily come off preachy or sappy. Or both. But Every Day is neither. In fact, there's a wacky and hilarious subplot involving a guy whose body A inhabited -- a guy who's onto A and out to expose the whole body-stealing thing. Every Day also gets huge bonus points for the following funny stuff: a joke based on "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, Rhiannon's gentle mocking of the "weepy gang boys" in The Outsiders, and the discussion of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
As I got close to the end of Every Day, I began to have a feeling about how the story was going to wind up. At first I had to be dragged along, kicking and screaming, but as I clicked through the last few pages, I changed my mind. Just like everything else about this book, the ending felt absolutely right. HIghly recommended!
So dawn goes into day. Nothing gold can stay.
-- Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay
Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?
--Thornton Wilder, Our Town
Tell me in comments about a book that really moved you! Since I became a mom, I always cry uncontrollably at the end of Charlotte's Web!