Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Every Day: It's Something New

Describe yourself.

Go on...take a minute and think about what words you'd use to describe yourself to someone you've never met. Did a physical attribute make the list of words? Or did you talk about your role in other people's lives? What if there was nothing physical to describe? Or if you couldn't describe yourself in relation to the people around? What if every morning, you woke up in a different person's life and body: sometimes it's a boy, sometimes it's a girl; sometimes it's someone beautiful, sometimes it's someone ugly. This is the life faced by A, the 16-year-old narrator in David Levithan's newest novel, Every Day.

A has lived 16 years without a life, family, or friends to call his (or her, since the narrator is genderless) own. A has a strong code of rules for living: do nothing that will interfere with the hosts' body and leave no trace behind of having been there. This all changes the day A jumps into a boy's body and meets the boy's girlfriend, Rhiannon, with whom A feels an instant and strong connection. Desperate to see Rhiannon again, and willing to orchestrate "chance" meetings, A becomes willing to take host bodies out of their normal routine. When a boy named Nathan remembers being powerless in his own body and speaks publicly, trouble begins.

David Levithan is a writer with a great skill for words (for a wonderful example in adult fiction, check out his book The Lover's Dictionary).  He uses this skill deftly to pose questions of what it really means to love someone and the relative weight of self-interest and maintaining ethical boundaries. Levithan has added yet another book to the list of reasons you should occasionally browse the teen section to find a great read. 

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