The continuity of a life, while boring at times, is essentially the crux of human existence. People develop unique likes and dislikes, make meaningful connections with family and friends, and often define themselves by religion, occupation, or skillset. So regular is this concept that it is often impossible to imagine yourself as anyone but…yourself. In his novel Every Day, David Levithan turns this concept upside-down to illuminate a greater meaning of human life.
Every Day’s protagonist, simply referred to as A, is a soul that wakes up in a new body every single morning. A is neither male nor female and takes only the memories he/she gathers to the next day. Without anything to call his/her own, A must adapt to a new physical body and life context on a daily basis, becoming a new teenager each day. At 16 years old, A has spent one day in the bodies of nearly 6,000 different people, from hard-working high school students, to drug-addicts, to a suicidal girl determined to end her life. And then one day, A falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon and is grounded to one person for the first time in his/her life.
Fiercely unique, A’s story will draw readers in and make them question their very existence. While many young adult novels are based upon the monotonous themes of romance, supernatural powers, or a dystopian future world, this book is far from ordinary and wise beyond its reading level. Every Day is the perfect novel for a college student because it explores themes of adolescence and self-definition. However, its complexity also makes it a perfect fit for all age groups and interests.
Like the old saying about spending time in someone else’s shoes, Every Day explores perspective at its very core. While some of the bodies that A spends a day in seem content at the surface, it turns out that almost everyone is struggling through something. Author David Levithan uses these struggles to push for social change throughout the book, working through everything from illegal child migrant workers, to transgender teens, to drunk driving. Because each subject is just touched upon within the course of A’s day, the entire book contains just a small flavor of each issue, introducing it to the reader in an approachable way.
“Part of growing up is making sure your sense of reality isn’t entirely grounded in your own mind,” says A in Every Day. Yet, for this protagonist, existing in the mind seems to be the only choice that there is. Even without a body, a job, a family, or even a high school, A is distinctly human with a big personality and a dry sense of humor. It is an amazing feat for David Levithan to be able to build such a relatable, dynamic main character without ever describing A’s appearance, lifestyle choices, or hobbies.
By far one of the most intriguing pieces of young adult literature out there, Every Day will not disappoint. It is a remarkable novel that will challenge readers to find true love, be the best they can be, and see the promise in every single day. As David Levithan writes, “All I get is tomorrow.”