Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published on August 28, 2012
About Every Day
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
Conceptually, this is probably one of the most intriguing books I’ve read this year. It reminds me a tiny bit of the show Quantum Leap, except that we don’t ever learn why A travels from body to body. And of course, Every Day takes a lot more time for exploration of what this kind of existence would mean in terms of understanding gender and sexual orientation. On that topic, I felt like the story sometimes got a bit preachy.
I think my favorite character by far was Rhiannon. I liked that she’s obviously a good person even though she’s sort of blind to her boyfriend’s flaws and therefore flawed herself. She struggles to understand life around her and embrace the relationships in her life. I liked that.
A was tougher for me. I liked him a lot more at the beginning of the story than the end. At the beginning, he tries to be really respectful of the person’s life into which he’s trespassing. But as the story progresses and his obsession with Rhiannon grows, he takes bigger and bigger risks and soon pretty much hijacks the life he’s occupying in order to spend the time with her, regardless of the consequences to the other person. As the story resolves, A tries to be the bigger person and do what he sees as right, but even in that, I felt like he was a bit controlling. I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I don’t want to say more. I just felt like he again took the choice away from other people Even though it was well-meaning, it still felt selfish to me.
On the whole, Every Day is a truly unusual book that did make me think about relationships and the things in life we so easily take for granted, like actually being able to have relationships and even possessions from one day to the next. To be honest, I felt like while the story posed some interesting questions, the content and ideas might be confusing for younger teen readers. For me personally, this would be one to wait on introducing or to read together and discuss some of the ideas and what they mean in the context of faith. See below for more content information.
A has no body and therefore no gender, though he still falls in love—once with a boy, once with a girl. A experiences life as straight, gay, and transgender teens. Sometimes A is white, sometimes Asian, sometimes black or Latina. At one point A is an obese teenager, and makes some disparaging comments about the person’s character because of his weight.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A knows Rhiannon and her boyfriend have had sex. When A is Rhiannon’s boyfriend, they sit on the “make-out blanket” and kiss. Later, A and a girl plan to have sex, but A ends up feeling it’s not fair for him to take that experience from the person whose body he’s using. They do climb into bed naked and kiss one another. Some scenes show kisses between two boys or two girls or a boy and girl.
A believes gender is sort of meaningless and doesn’t understand why Rhiannon is more comfortable showing affection to boys than girls. The narrative occasionally gets a bit preachy about this.
A has some really negative feelings about Evangelical Christians in particular. One person A “borrowed” later claims he was possessed by the devil for a day. A pastor supports his theory.
Because A has experienced life as a participant in many different religions, he feels they’re all the same and ultimately share the same goals. There’s a short passage in which the narrative focuses on this topic and emphasizes a belief that all religions are essentially equal.
A boy punches another boy in a school gym.
A, as a sixteen-year-old girl, watches her brother smoke a joint in the car on the way to school. She helps him lie to their parents about his drug use so he doesn’t get into trouble.
Teens drink alcohol at a party. A doesn’t drink because the boy whose life he is in wouldn’t do so.
A boy makes a comment about how much he enjoys using his girlfriend’s mom’s pills.