It’s always refreshing when I read a book that’s compelling, original, off-the-beaten-path. The kind of book that sucks me in so that I’m inhaling the story more than reading it. It’s also rare. A book that can make me lose track of time, of my own life, of everything except what happens next is a gift. It’s an escape from life.
David Levithan’s Every Day is exactly that – it’s an unassuming, captivating novel; one that draws you in so effortlessly and quietly that you don’t even realize you’re hooked until you’re holding the book in your hands, having turned the last page a moment earlier, wondering, “How can it already be over?”
Here’s the premise: A is just like every other teenager. Except for one minor thing- every single day A wakes up in another body.
It’s like an invasion of the body snatchers situation, except A is a good person – taking over a different body every day doesn’t take away A’s humanity.
At it’s heart this is a book about love, not the superficial kind of love either, but the kind of love that makes a person better than he/she was when it all began. It’s about doing the right thing, even when the wrong thing is easier. It’s about letting go of what you want, so that someone else can get what s/he needs.
I’ll admit – I fell in love with this book. I don’t even know what drew me to it, but I’m glad that I picked it up and started reading. A has a beautiful narrative voice, and it makes him/her (it’s a bit ambiguous without a body to give context clues) easy to root for. I wanted A to get a happy ending. And, though the ending wasn’t what I expected, or even necessarily how I wanted things to end, it was happy. There’s a bittersweet satisfaction in the final pages that makes even the sad parts okay.
And, as A says in the book, “We all want everything to be okay. We don’t even wish so much for fantastic or marvelous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough.” I know there are other ways to read this, but in my head this is a beautiful sentiment – the idea that we just want okay, even if it means not having great, because okay is so much greater than not okay. My dad always says, “Better than not okay,” whenever I say that I’m “okay.” And I just really love that. It’s a positive way to view the world.
Levithan shines in this novel. I’ve read his book Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which he co-authored with John Green (a favorite of mine). But I think that his prose sparkles in Every Day more than it did there. Here, Levithan gets to show off his way with words, and all of the prose is poetic in a way that had me feeling as though I was drinking the words rather than reading them. It’s a beautiful effect.
Take this passage, for instance:
“This is how it feels as her eyelids close.
This is how sleep will taste to her.
This is how night touches her skin.
This is how the house noises sing her to bed.
This is the goodbye she feels every night. This is how her day ends.”
This is lovely. There’s no other way to slice it.
I also love, from a bookaholic perspective, when an author throws in the titles of books that he/she loves, in an effort to promote those works and get readers interested in picking them up. I approve of Levithan’s choices – The Book Thief, in particular, is a favorite of mine.
But mainly, I love the heart of this book. It’s short, sweet, and plucky. I’ve never read anything quite like it. I admire the honesty. Like this quote: “I no longer think she’s just being nice. She’s being kind. Which is much more a sign of character than mere niceness. Kindness connects to who you are, while niceness connects to how you want to be seen.” Wow.
This is a book that I couldn’t put down, and I guarantee that if you pick it up you’ll see exactly what I mean when I say it was one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Overall Reaction: “YES. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO READ RIGHT NOW. LET ME ACTIVATE THE ALL CAPS BUTTON TO PROCLAIM MY LOVE.”
Up Next Week: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I’ve gotta re-read it before the film comes out June 6th!)