Young adult fiction (or "YA") tends to be a bit hit-and-miss with me. Sometimes, I find a real gem of a novel I find myself coming back to multiple times after first reading it, mining the story and letting it truly speak to my soul -- as YA sometimes can. Other times, unfortunately, books in the YA genre are quite dreadful, relying on hum-drum cliches (I swear to God, if I read another YA fiction book with a half-arsed love triangle......) just to get cash from fourteen year old girls downloading them to their Kindles.
Occasionally, a young adult fiction book falls somewhere in between. Enter Every Day by David Levithan.
I had never read anything by David Levithan before this, aside from his collaboration with John Green on Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I was -- overall -- pretty impressed with this guy's writing. I had heard good things and was relieved that it was mostly true. His style is clear, concise, and fun. The characters that populate this novel stand out pretty well in my mind, even after finishing the story. Sure, Every Day ain't very deep, but that's okay -- Levithan knows the field he's writing in, and that's why he is so successful. His characters' motivations are very clear, and their actions throughout make them pretty relatable to this book's target reading audience at large.
So, what is this book even about?
This book is about a soul with no gender or name -- he/she/it simply goes by "A" -- that wakes up in the body of a different person every day. The body is always sixteen years old, but other than that it's completely random. One day, A wakes up in the body a bulky football player and the next day an illegal alien girl who's a maid alongside her sisters. A cannot hold onto memories day to day unless he/she/it really tries, like the memory of Rhiannon, the girl he/she/it meets in the first chapter when he/she/it wakes up in the body of Rhiannon's jerk boyfriend. A immediately falls for Rhiannon, thus making up most of what happens in this novel -- he/she/it trying his/her/its hardest to get back to Rhiannon, and that isn't always easy. Some of the people he/she/it wakes up in don't have cars or licenses, and some live several hours away from Rhiannon. Some are grounded; some are hungover. These struggles and the way A deals with them makes for tightly-written, fast-paced action that I couldn't stop reading. Sure, the fact that this book had to focus on the romantic aspect more than this really cool idea of waking up in a different person's body every day is a little annoying, but this is YA -- it comes with the territory.
Overall, I thought this book was....pretty good. It comes in, gives its reader a good time, and gets out. It doesn't overstay its welcome and it doesn't offer the reader too little. I really felt like I knew A and Rhiannon, and even found myself sort of rooting for their insta-love at times, as unlikely as it seemed. This is fiction, after all! Every Day is very much a book of the modern YA genre -- not too complex or challenging while offering some clever ideas as well as a few boring cliches. Despite its flaws, I found myself touched at the story's end. If you're looking for a quick, entertaining read, look no further.