I read David Levithan’s Every Day in one, three-hour sitting. It’s that kind of book. A 2012 teen romance, the novel was recently made into a mediocre movie you might have heard of. But before you see the so-so film (and pick it apart with your friends, no doubt), I implore you to read the novel, which is almost unrecognizable from the movie.
Every Day centers around a teenager named “A” who wakes up every day in a new body. A, without choice, possesses somebody for a day, and the next day will possess somebody new, and so on. The person A possesses will have little to no memory of the day that occurred (with some exceptions). There are only two rules to this: one, each day, A will wake up in a body near where they went to sleep last, and two, the person A possesses will be around A’s age (sixteen at the start of the novel). This confusing premise is unfolded surprisingly well, and the prose never feels like you’re just getting exposition.
When we first meet A, they’re in the body of a boy named Justin. Justin’s a jerk and a slacker, who “listens to loud and obnoxious music on a loud and obnoxious station where loud and obnoxious DJs make loud and obnoxious jokes as a way of getting through the morning.” This is just another straightforward day for A, but then he meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Justin doesn’t treat her well, but A instantly feels a connection to her. He takes her away for the day, and Rhiannon wonders how her harsh, unfeeling boyfriend is suddenly so kind and caring. The day after A inhabits Justin, he manages to get his new body back to Rhiannon’s high school, and see her. He keeps doing this, falls in love with her, and eventually tells her his story. They are able to meet up almost every day until A realizes things can’t continue like this forever.
Every Day unfolds pretty much how you’d expect it to. There are, however, some moments that differ from the rest in regard to their insight, such as the moving chapter in which A inhabits a girl with depression who is planning a suicide. It’s also interesting to think about A’s morality. A tries to make no impact on the lives they inhabit, but can sometimes uproot them entirely; A can do nothing to stop their situation.
I’m not saying that Every Day is a perfect book. The prose itself is sometimes choppy, and the novel seems at times slightly repetitive. But the concept of it and how it’s unfolded is quite brilliant. I strongly recommend you read this book in one sitting, then think about it for about a day afterwards. And, hey, then see the lukewarm movie. Rotten Tomatoes called it a “bland teen romance”; better go prove them right.