Richie’s Picks: EVERY DAY
Richie’s Picks: EVERY DAY by David Levithan, Knopf, August 2012, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-307-93188-7
“I can hear her heartbeat for a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles.”
--Van Morrison, 1970, “Crazy Love”
“What is it about the moment you fall in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity? I suddenly realize why people believe in déjà vu, why people believe they’ve lived past lives, because there is no way the years I’ve spent on this earth could possibly encapsulate what I’m feeling. The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you fell that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself have crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.”
I’ve told the story before. Years ago, I’d come to retail books from a career in early childhood education. I knew firsthand about ages and stages in developing children.
So I was intrigued when I then attended a bookseller retreat at which editor Dick Jackson and librarian Michael Cart presented on teens and young adult literature, and talked about how developing adolescents wake up and reinvent themselves on a daily basis.
EVERY DAY employs this developmental cornerstone in a novel fashion. This is the story of a sixteen year old boy who has no body of his own. For his entire life, he has awakened each and every day in the body of a different boy or girl his own age and lived that person’s life for a day. He has learned through trial-and-error what works for surviving this day-by-day existence. He has learned to steadfastly maintain an identity of his own, a boy known to himself as “A,” primarily through having an email account in which he can write himself, when possible, and store his memories.
EVERY DAY is the love story of A and Rhiannon, the mistreated girlfriend of one of the sixteen year-old boys (Justin) in whose body A finds himself for a day. Falling in love during an afternoon at the beach with this young woman who, thanks to him, is, for one day, treated well by her boyfriend, A returns to his home du jour and saves in his own account the login and password to Justin’s email, and Rhiannon’s email address. Thus, in the succeeding days, A is able to see what Justin is up to with Rhiannon and then take advantage of opportunities to see Rhiannon again: a day of shadowing her at her school in a girl’s body and an evening of dancing with her at a party in a (pretending to be gay) boy’s body. Through these encounters A comes to be sure that he wants to see Rhiannon day after day. Collecting sufficient information so as to be able to approach and present to Rhiannon a believable case of who he is, A eventually makes his move, which makes Rhiannon the first person in the world to know that he, A, actually exists.
But, in the process, A slips up. He has always been careful about covering his tracks, clearing out the history on every computer he uses. But he forgets to do so with the computer of the boy in whose body he danced with Rhiannon. That boy was found by the cops asleep in his car, far from home. That boy finds his computer used, wants to get to the bottom of what happened to him that day, and begins emailing A.
Talk about a realm of possibility! Author-editor David Levithan has awed me before, and this unique, captivating, and heart achingly honest teen love story is one more enormous leap forward for him. A convincing and mind-boggling tale, EVERY DAY has me imagining the impossible to imagine.
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