November 29, 2012

BOOKS: Every Day, David Levithan (2012)

Here we have yet another SF novel that dare not admit to being one. You won't see the words "science fiction" or "fantasy" in any of the book's marketing or advertising, and I don't think I've seen it in any of the reviews, but what else are we to call a novel that presents an entirely new form of human life?

Our central character is A, who is 16 and lives in Maryland. Each morning, A wakes up in the body of a different person; over the years, it has become A's philosophy to get through the day with as little interference in the host's life as possible, in hopes of leaving that person able to continue life relatively undisrupted. But then A falls in love with Rihanna, the girlfriend of that day's host, eventually telling her the truth about this disjointed life, and trying to spend as much time with her as possible
And when you never know how far apart you're going to be from your beloved the next day, that's a challenge. A is limited geographically, never moving enormous distances from one host to the next, but even a 2 or 3 hour drive can be impractical when you're 16, especially if today's "you" doesn't own a car. Or doesn't get along with her parents. Or has a drug problem.

Levithan does a nice job of exploring the complications of this life, and of finding new surprises for A (what's it like to spend consecutive days as identical twins?). The story is a charming romance with an ending that is both hopeful and bittersweet.

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