This book is really about how relationships are hard. Sometimes, issues like race, gender, distance, and time complicate relationships. In this book, the complication is caused by a very different issue.
Everyday, by David Levithan, explores identity through the circumstances of the main character, A. A, wakes up (assumes consciousness?) each morning in the body of a different person. A pays diligent attention to that person’s life and tries not to make a mess of things. Memories are accessed and roles are played, and eventually, A falls asleep only to rise the next day somewhere, and someone, else…
This story explores gender identity as A is able to slip in and out of the lives of male and female bodies with ease and shows us that it’s easy to understand social norms if you pay attention. In this way, Levithan deconstructs society with the same weight as Laurie Halse Anderson did in Speak.
This book is full of examples of the narrative element “conflict” and there are several passages we could use as mentor texts. So much of the story is an examination of the interactions between people. But also, we see the internal conflict in a character that wants something impossible to possess, a relationship.
One false move, though, brings unwanted attention to this bizarre situation and the conflict becomes truly threatening.
The story seems to be moves along until A wakes up in the body of Justin, a high school student who escapes his own vapidity just long enough to have a completely devoted girlfriend. This is love at first sight for A. Feelings rapidly grow and what used to be a process of making it through someone else’s day quickly becomes an obsession with finding face time with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon.
As I read through the middle third of this book, a feeling of dread crept into my thinking. A and Rhiannon worked through the process of figuring out what this relationship was and could be, and for that big chunk of the book, nothing really happened. But our students are going to love that part of the book because something did happen: Two young people explore their place in the world through their experience with each other.
This book made me think about Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. I thought about how Yoon’s characters struggle with a relationship forbidden by disease. That story is different, but really it’s the same.
Anderson, L. H. (2006). Speak. New York, NY: Penguin.
Levithan, D. (2012). Everyday. New York, NY: Random House Children’s Books.
Yoon, N. (2015). Everthing, everything. New York, NY: Ember.
Charles Moore can’t wait to read the sequel to Everyday. Too bad one of his students is only halfway through it. He’s thinking about buying second copy, but it’s been so cold lately that money might be better spent on a coat. If you want to read more by him, check out www.threeteacherstalk.com or his incessant twittering.