Confession: I read Every Day because one of the main characters is named Rhiannon, like my sister. (Only my sister spells her name differently.) Okay, maybe I also picked it up because one of the best books I’ve read this year, maybe in several years, was Will Grayson, Will Grayson, that Levithan co-wrote with fellow fabulous YA author John Green. And then there was the fact that the plot sounded original and downright catchy: the narrator, a teenaged boy (of sorts)(you’ll see), wakes up every day in the body of another teenager, whom he controls for the day. He has access to their thoughts, their feelings, their lives. He has to live out the day undercover, trying not to arouse the suspicions of those around him or mess up the life of the person he’s invading for the day. Our narrator has always lived his life this way. Alone. But then he meets a girl (cue Rhiannon) he wants to know not just for one day, but every day.
Pretty catchy, right? And because it was David Levithan, the story delivered on every single page. Levithan made me care about characters we never met except through our narrator. Each host sounded different and quirky, but entirely within the realm of teenagers we know in real life, while staying away from dangerous stereotypes. Which is to say the poisonous witch was not a cheerleader, the jocks had a believable loving relationship with his twin and was not a meathead, the jerk boyfriend Rhiannon was dating had a few redeeming qualities – though just enough to make matters complicated for her.
Levithan knew how to play the story out, too. Just as I was finished with the voyeuristic pleasures the sampling of lives offered, plot twists appeared magically. The timing might have been predictable (hello YA novel), but not the heart of the twists. And if you want to know what they are, I suggest you go buy that book (preferably from your nearest indie bookstore, ahem); I’m not going to tell you what they are.
I will warn you that you might not want to be near any breakable objects when you read the end of the book. Oh, did I say end? That sounds far too neat. The characters were great, the writing was all but invisible it was so pitch perfect, the action hummed and dipped and swelled appropriately…so of course the ending fell not so much flat as off a frickin cliff. It…well…what can I say without giving it away? Green builds it up, ramping up the emotions, the action, the possibilities…and then just ends the damn book. Not in a used-to-be-clever, fill-in-the-blanks kind of Hollywood ending, either. He didn’t just cut the damn cameras. No. He builds your hopes, deflates them, and THEN cuts the cameras. I’m sure there’s an entire camp of readers who actually liked the ending, but not this girl. This girl likes things a certain way, and if you want to know what way, then take this ending, go in almost ANY OTHER DIRECTION, and that’s more my style.
It’s almost enough to make me NOT recommend this book. How could I recommend a book when I know you’re going to through it at me after you’re finished reading? (Half of you, anyway.) But I have to say the rest of the story was just so original and so enjoyable that I can’t let it sit on a shelf, dusty. I have to tell you about it. I have to say you should read it. But I say it with a warning: the ending might do some damage.
4 of 5 stars.