Every Day

Every Day - also available at: http://parnassusreads.comFrom the co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, comes Every Day, a novel about someone who spends each day of their (the use of their is intentional, as this person is genderless, per se) life in a different body. A has been jumping from body to body each day of A’s life for as long as A can remember. Currently, A jumps through the bodies of 16 years olds. By now A has figured out the basic rules of the jump (every day at midnight, and never in the same body) and has set up some rules to live by in order to stay sane. Rule number one is don’t get attached. Rule number two is don’t interfere with the life of the body A is currently in. Things go as well as can be expected for A until A jumps into the body of 16 year old Justin. Justin himself is more or less a dick. The problem for A is that A falls almost immediately for Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. The rest of the novel is spent working that whole snafu out. There are some fun plots twists in here, especially toward the end, so my summary will stop here.I haven’t read anything else written or co-written by Levithan, so I can’t offer any comparisons to the wildly popular Will Grayson, Will Grayson or Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It’s a quick read, but it brings up some pretty tough questions about gender and how we view ourselves. In the first respect, there are places where Levithan seems to get a bit preachy, but it was refreshing to hear meditations on gender so plainly and bluntly put, while still showing the grace of love across all genders and races through his characters. To be clear, gender is not the central aspect of the novel, but it is an important subtext, especially since A has no gender, or rather identifies as neither male nor female. Levithan handles this extremely well, and yet while reading, A sounded fairly male to me. Perhaps it was just because A’s love interest was female. This didn’t really bother me, and hopefully it won’t bother other readers. How often does a YA novel have a genderless, wholly human protagonist? What Levithan has done here certainly pushes boundaries, but in a very good way.The only slightly sour note for me was the fact that A came across as slightly obsessive or stalkerish regarding Rhiannon. A is also quite pushy in a seemingly non-pushy way in trying to secure Rhiannon’s affections. A’s first objective, aside from spending time with Rhiannon, is to get her away from Justin, her current boyfriend. A likewise seems fine with the fact that if they were to be together, Rhiannon would have to basically give up all of her friends and family, because how could she explain A’s body-hopping, or the fact that she seems to be with someone new every day? A doesn’t really care; in fact A’s answer is to sweep Rhiannon off to New York where A will have a better chance of staying around her because the city’s large enough to provide A with millions of bodies in a very small location. She’ll apparently just be running a one room hotel.I’m glad to see that Rhiannon is smarter than that whole thing (saying this is not really a spoiler; do you really think anyone would go for that?). In fact, Rhiannon is a pretty likable character, as is A, once the whole stalker-thing drops off. A is a pretty decent person who tries to do as little damage as possible, given the circumstances, and even does some good where possible. Levithan’s writing is clear, concise, and authentic. At first A comes across as a weary, old-soul type, and A is, but A is also just a kid looking for a place to belong, even though that is nearly impossible. This book will reach out to teens who may feel the same and hopefully open up important discussions about gender and what it means to be a person, regardless of what one looks like. I really enjoyed this book, and hope there is a second, as the end seems to imply. I like A and want to find out what happens next (this doesn’t read like a crappy blockbuster trilogy, but rather like a story that could end here, yet you hope that it doesn’t). Final verdict: Highly recommended.