Fighting crime, trying to save the world.
Here they come just in time, the Powerpuff Girls.
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Book review: Every Day by David Levithan
I picked up this book on rave reviews. After reading it, I’m torn—because while it’s just as beautiful as everyone says, its attempts at diversity and representation leave mixed results.
The narrator, A, is a mysterious entity who wakes up in a different body each day. The hosts are similar in age, and they all live in the same geographical region, but everything else is a matter of chance—so A is at once raceless and every race, all genders and none. For years, A has tried to live quietly, to leave the lives of their hosts as undisturbed as possible, but when A falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon, all the fragile order of their former rules breaks down.
The premise is intriguing, and when Rhiannon isn’t involved, it truly shines. A’s experiences with depression and drug addiction are remarkably well-done, and Levithan’s simple, graceful prose packs a startling emotional punch. However, A’s obsession with Rhiannon is more than a little disturbing, and while the end of the book attempts to address that problem, there are many in-between moments in which A’s behavior is accepted and even romanticized.
Furthermore, as much as A claims to be raceless and genderfluid, they come off in all bodies as white and male. It’s a subtle vibe, but I expected better from David Levithan, especially since his exploration of sexuality is so thoughtful and sensitive. The biggest disappointment was A’s experience in the body of a fat boy, which was riddled with so much unaddressed shame and disgust that it completely took me out of the story.
That being said, I don’t regret reading Every Day. It doesn’t quite do its premise justice, but in its best moments it’s quiet and beautiful, bittersweet and philosophical. Those moments—not plot or premise—are what give this story its heart.