When I first heard about David Levithan’s new book, I was very excited to read it. I finally got my hands on it, my excitement level skyrocketed because I got to meet the author (who is super nice, by the way) and have him sign the book! After I read it, though, I was so disappointed that it took me well over a year to get my feelings down and post it. So, here it goes! My review of Every Day by David Levithan, and why I was disappointed.
Set in the backdrop of Maryland, Every Day follows the life of ‘A,’ a person who has no body of his own. Every day, A wakes up in a different body and tries to live that person’s life without disrupting it noticeably.
Things change on Day 5994 of A’s life. As he’s trying to live a day in the life of yet another person, A falls in love with a girl. Rhiannon is dating Justin, which works out for A since that’s who he is for the day, meaning he’s also dating Rhiannon. On an impulse, A decides to drive to the coast with Rhiannon, breaking all of his self-imposed rules. The next day when he wakes up, he’s in a different body, a different life, but he can’t forget Rhiannon. Every subsequent day, A attempts to find new ways of being with Rhiannon, no matter the cost.
A is a tragic character. He has no family, no home, no stability, no real identity. He can live only in the now, for tomorrow he will always move on to a different body. I felt like this was reflected well in his character, whose desperation bordered on control at times. The logic of A made me uncomfortable, and as a consequence, I didn’t really like him. It wasn’t exactly his character, per se, because if he actually had a body of his own and had a sustained identity, then I think I would like him. However, I didn’t like the fact that whatever A was meant that he inhabited other people’s bodies, and it was a total invasion of personal space, privacy, and essentially was as creepy as stalking
Rhiannon was easily my favorite character in the novel. She has serious self-esteem issues, which are reflected in her souring relationship with Justin. I liked the way she reacted to A, though, and I like that she did reinforce her personal boundaries with him. Although she was in an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend, she wasn’t blinded by it. She knew that he wasn’t a great guy, but she just held on and hoped that he would change, especially after the day at the beach, when she thought he was being spontaneous and romantic, but really it was just A. She has friends and a life of her own outside of her boyfriend and outside of A, and she also has a realistic relationship with her family.
Every Day is driven by A’s love for and attempt to connect with Rhiannon, and the plot is very heavily focused on the characters, so if you don’t like them, you won’t enjoy the book. This ended up being the case for me—I didn’t like A, and the romance made me uncomfortable. I could have excused this if there was more about what exactly A is, but it’s the elephant in the room throughout the book (he has no body!) and it’s hardly addressed, and I became very frustrated.
As usual, David Levithan’s writing style was absolutely beautiful. The best thing about the book was seeing the radically different lives of the people A inhabited. There is such a broad spectrum of people, and some of the most powerful scenes are A battling the personal demons of the people he’s inhabiting.
My favorite scene of the book is when A wakes up in the body of an alcoholic girl who wakes up and can’t access the memories from the night before—the girl has blacked out, and A is trying to piece together the mess of a life that she lives. Finally, a psychiatrist comes to visit, and as A talks to him, he starts to remember:
“Anthony. That name is the fact that is too bright to hide. My body convulses in pain. Pain is all I can feel.
Anthony. My brother.
My dead brother.
My brother who died next to me.
My brother who died next to me, in the passenger seat.
Because I crashed.
Because I was drunk.
Because of me.
“Oh my God,” I cry out. “Oh my God.”
I am seeing him now. His bloody body. I am screaming.
“It’s okay,” Dr. P says. “It’s okay now.”
But it’s not.
A also in habits the body of a suicidal girl and struggles with the question of whether he should intervene on her plans to kill herself in a few days by telling someone, or whether he should let it be, since it’s her choice. He inhabits the bodies of an illegal immigrant worker, a morbidly obese boy who can’t control his eating, a pious, home-schooled teen, and so many more. Really, the variety of people whose lives A inhabits is really fascinating.
Overall, I liked the concept of Every Day, but the execution was lacking. I felt like Every Day was experimental for David Levithan and a way for him to express his beliefs on gender, sexuality, and identity and how these things affect love and relationships. Much of the story fell flat for me, as parts made me uncomfortable, such as the way A interacted with Rhiannon. Furthermore, the more reckless A becomes, the more he endangers his inhabited person’s life, which brings up the issue of personal violation. Regardless of his intention or even lack of control of his circumstances, the undeniable truth is that every day, A is violating another person’s life and privacy. It really creeped me out.
Every Day is a character-driven book; I didn’t like the main character, so I didn’t like the book. I could have looked past it if the plot was better, but that too was lacking. I was incredibly disappointed by this book, from which I expected great things, being a fan of David Levithan’s writing. At the end, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars.
Recommended to mature teens, 16+ as there is some mature content (heavy petting, characters discussing sex), as well as difficult issues (contemplative suicide, results of drunken manslaughter, characters dealing with alcoholism, etc).
Katya’s World was one of those subtly good books. I didn’t realize I was sucked in until halfway through, and I didn’t know how much I needed the next book until I saw the cover and realized just how badly I want to read it.
The first book of the series introduced an underwater colony with a rich Russian culture and ended with the threat of war. Katya’s War tells the tale of that battle and how Katya Kuriakova not only finds herself in the middle of it, but possibly devising a plan to end it.
Katya’s War by Jonathan L. Howard
Release Date: November 5, 2013
The battle lines have been drawn. The people of Russalka turn upon one another in a ruthless and unwavering civil war even while their world sickens and the deep black ocean is stained red with their blood. As the young civilisation weakens, its vitality fuelling the opposing militaries at the cost of all else, the war drums beat louder and louder.
Katya Kuriakova knows it cannot last. Both sides are exhausted – it can only be a matter of days or weeks before they finally call a truce and negotiate. But the days and weeks pass, the death toll mounts, and still the enemy will not talk.
Then a figure from the tainted past returns to make her an offer she cannot lightly refuse – a plan to stop the war. But to do it she will have to turn her back on everything she has believed in, everything she has ever fought for, to make sacrifices greater even than laying down her own life. To save Russalka, she must become its greatest enemy.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine.
Release Date: September 2013
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?
What I’m Excited About!
What fun! A girl who’s so caught up in a fandom that she can’t live real life. Also, the cover is designed by Noelle Stevenson who is one of my favorite artists of my generation.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine.
It has been a month since I watched the season finale of Merlin, yet every time I think of it I still become incredibly angry.
Honestly, from the beginning I knew the show wasn’t the best. At times, the only word that can be used to describe it is “cheesy.” I kept coming back, though, not only because I love the Arthurian legend, but because the chemistry between Arthur and Merlin is so endearing.
When I watched the final episode, I was so disappointed both by the episode itself and by the fact that the series was over and officially failed to live up to my hopes and expectations. My frustrations have mulled and festered within me until I can no longer contain them. Here are my top 5 problems with Merlin, either with the finale or the show in general. (Yes, there are spoilers. That should be obvious.)
1. That truck.
Let me just get this out of the way—I HATE the semi-truck in the very last scene. On my list of things I hate in film, that scene is on the very top of the list. Seriously, guys. I would watch hours of sparkling vampire drama if it meant that those 2 seconds of semi-truck could disappear from cinematic history forever.
2. Repetitive Plots.
Nearly every episode of Merlin follows 1 of 3 basic plots:
- Arthur or Uther is enchanted by an evil woman, and Merlin must break the spell or CAMELOT WILL FALL!
- Someone tries to kill Arthur or Uther, and Merlin must save them or CAMELOT WILL FALL!
- Morgana tries to kill Arthur, and Merlin must save them or CAMELOT WILL FALL!
Don’t forget—Merlin has to do everything without anyone discovering he has magic or—you guessed it—CAMELOT WILL FALL!
Merlin was very close to being a monster-of-the-week kind of show. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just hoped for more. I wanted an epic fantasy retelling of the boy-wizard Merlin, but instead I got formulaic plots.
3. Eternal hipster Merlin.
WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH OLD HIPSTER MERLIN?!
Seriously, though?! What did Merlin do for thousands of years after Arthur’s death? I’m insulted to think that he just walked around the lake waiting for Arthur the whole time. Merlin was the greatest wizard who ever lived, and he didn’t die. He should have done some great, world-changing things by the time we see him walking by that stupid semi-truck (NO, I WON’T GET OVER IT).
4. Arthur died.
The great buildup of the ENTIRE SERIES was this new kingdom that Arthur was going to build. That’s why Merlin told Arthur that there is no place for magic in Camelot. That’s why Merlin rescues Arthur’s life again and again. That’s why Merlin did everything he did in the series–to usher in this new kingdom. And by the end of the series, the kingdom still doesn’t exist, and we’re left with Gwen on the throne. Which means that Gwen was the one who ushered in the great new kingdom. Which makes everything Merlin did essentially pointless.
5. We never see the new kingdom.
For FIVE YEARS the writers taunted us with this great new kingdom where magic was allowed and Merlin could be who he is without fear of persecution. And we never see it. Not even a glimpse. Arthur doesn’t even find out that Merlin is a wizard until he’s dying. I felt gypped. There was so much potential for this awesome show where the crux of the entire plot WASN’T Merlin’s secret, where Merlin actually worked alongside Arthur and helped him build the kingdom, but this show wasn’t it.
There are a lot of things Merlin did really well. For instance, some of the best bromances known to mankind. But that’s why I’m so bothered by Merlin’s failings–it could have been SO MUCH BETTER. I’m disappointed.
What bothered or disappointed you about Merlin?
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
”I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
I received an ARC of Eleanor & Park through NetGalley, and let me be honest—I almost put the book down after the first couple of chapters. Now that I have finished the novel, I am so glad that I kept reading because it was really good! I think it may be my favorite YA Romance that I’ve read.
Eleanor & Park is a high school, Romeo & Juliet kind of romance, except that it’s actually mature. It isn’t love or lust at first sight—it’s more of a disdain at first sight to be honest.
Eleanor has just moved back in with her mom, stepdad and four other siblings. Although she’s glad to be back with her family, she despises her stepdad (Richie), for reasons that are gradually revealed throughout the novel. Richie is a truly terrible father figure, and his presence keeps the novel grounded. The sweet romance is tempered by the reality of Eleanor’s horrific home life.
Not only does Eleanor’s home life suck, but she’s the new girl at school and no one wants to be her friend because she’s fat, has screaming red hair, and dresses weird (and that’s saying something since this takes place in 1986). On her first day of school, she gets on the school bus and can’t find a seat because no one will share their seat with her. Frustrated with her standing in the aisle, Park scoots over and barks at her to sit down.
Park is friends with the popular kids, but he still doesn’t quite fit in. His mom is Korean and his dad is an American soldier who now teaches taekwondo. Although his brother looks more like his dad, Park looks a lot like his mom and is shorter than most of the guys in his class. He spends his days drowning out the world with punk rock music and reading comics. Compared to Eleanor, Park’s family looks like the Cleavers, but that doesn’t mean that their relationships are perfect or that Park doesn’t have his own identity issues.
Eleanor & Park takes Romeo & Juliet and flips it on its head. Instead of love (lust) at first sight, Eleanor and Park are annoyed with each other, and it takes time for them to open up to each other. Even the gender roles are reversed, as is indicated by the title. At one point, Eleanor claims that she’s the “Han Solo” of the relationship, and Park is jokingly offended, asking if that means he’s Princess Leia. She tells him not to get hung up on gender roles, and this novel doesn’t. Eleanor tends to wear masculine clothes and is uncomfortable with makeup or doing her hair. Park constantly feels self-conscious because he doesn’t live up to his dad’s standards of masculinity and tends to be more sensitive. Through their relationship, Eleanor & Park learn that it’s okay to be who they are, even if that doesn’t conform to society’s or their parents’ standards.
I really, really enjoyed Eleanor & Park! I would HIGHLY recommend it to young readers (junior high through high school) who enjoy romance. The novel addresses some very real issues that teenagers deal with, such as identity, abuse, parental acceptance, peer acceptance, and bullying, to name a few. The novel is also peppered with 80s nerd pop culture references, and it was absolutely delicious.
The only problem I had was that there was A LOT of cussing, and the characters said “Jesus” a lot, which bothered me personally and distracted me from the story. This may not bother some people, though, as the cursing was in character, and I think it would be hard to tell this story while truly portraying certain characters or situations without using cuss words.
Eleanor & Park was a refreshing romance that I highly recommend.
The book was originally released earlier in 2012 and is being re-released on February 26 with the featured cover. Personally, I like it much better than the first cover, which has silhouettes that are supposed to be Park and Eleanor, but they don’t really look like they could be them. The new cover better captures the spirit of the novel.
Rainbow Rowell has another book out called Attachments (which sounds really cute) and a new book coming out in the fall called Fangirl. It’s about a girl who’s so into fictional men that she has a hard time having relationships with real guys. I’m excited to read it! Also, the cover is illustrated by Noelle Stevenson (more popularly known on the Webz at Gingerhaze)!
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.
Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.
Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.
What I’m Excited About!
There is something hauntingly poignant about the cover of this book. The look on her face is a mixture of innocence and shock as she’s slowly dissolving, and I just want to know the character more. The plot is intriguing, and I hope it’s as character-driven as it appears it would be.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine.
Release Date: February 26, 2013
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman’s suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
What I’m Excited About!
I’m a bit tired of the dystopian, fight-for-your-life books that are super popular right now, but I’m excited about this one for two reasons. First, the cover makes it look like it will be sci-fi, and I would like to read more hard sci-fi dystopian. Second, I’m extremely interested in the concept of identical twins and nature-versus-nurture, and I would love to see it explored in this book.
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine.
Title: As They Slip Away: An Across the Universe Novella
Author: Beth Revis
Taking place on the spaceship Godspeed before Amy Martin wakes up and Elder takes leadership, this novella describes life at the Hospital during Eldest’s reign. Focusing primarily on background characters, readers will see fan-favorite characters Harley, Orion, Victria, and more.
Selene is a singer on a spaceship that only values people who can provide important skills that enhance survival. As her friends–fellow “loons” in the Hospital–start to join apprenticeships to turn their skills into valuable labor, Selene is sent with a handful of other students to learn about the importance of art from the Recorder, Orion. The assignment pairs her with a young sculptor, Luthor, and their dangerous romance proves just how terrifying living trapped on a spaceship under the rule of a heartless dictator could be.
This tragic tale explores the background of a previously unknown character, linking the history of the ship and its residents to Amy and Elder, giving depth to the world of Godspeed.
Wow. I just finished reading As They Slip Away, and that’s the only word I can think of. If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, this is it! It’s a 48 page novella in the Across the Universe series, the final book of which comes out in just a few days! You can download the novella for free and transfer it to your Kindle or Nook, or you can simply read it on the website.
The novella gives us a glimpse of both the most beloved character and the most despised character in the Across the Universe series. The story takes place through the eyes of Selene, whom we barely meet in the first novel before she is brutally raped and murdered. As They Slip Away is the tragic story of her beautiful voice and how it was stolen from her by Luthor.
Most importantly, As They Slip Away addresses a sad truth in our world: how rape is handled, or rather ignored. Practically nothing is done about Selene’s rape because the leaders–the men–of the ship view her as useless. It doesn’t matter that she’s a human being whose rights were violated and whose innocence was ripped away from her. All the leaders are concerned about is what value she can bring to the ship, and since all she can do is sing, which is useless aboard a spaceship where the population is drugged, Selene’s injustice is all but ignored.
I’m so glad Beth Revis released this the week before Shades of Earth comes out because it reminded me of a lot of the events in the previous two books, and now I can’t wait to find out what happens in the final novel!
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is as marvelous as the title makes it sound. I fell in love with it from the first page and couldn’t put it down until I finished it later that night. It’s a cozy and fun read, perfect for snuggling up with under a blanket or next to a fire.
It all begins when Hadley misses her flight to London for her father’s wedding, which she is absolutely dreading. She’s angry with her dad for cheating on her mom and refuses to talk to her future step-mother. Hadley fantasized the many different ways she would catastrophically be unable to attend their wedding, but simply missing her flight? It was so simple she had never even conceived of it.
If she hadn’t missed her flight, though, and she hadn’t had to buy a second ticket, then she never would have met Oliver. Something about the dark, close quarters in the airplane makes Hadley open up to Oliver, skipping over the small talk and heading straight for the hard stuff—such as problems with her parents.
Oliver and Hadley are engaging characters, the perfect pair for a cute, light read. They’re not over-the-top with Distinguishing Characteristics (that few people actually have), but they’re relatable with their real problems.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is built on a string of coincidences, but it doesn’t advertise itself to be anything else. Such astounding coincidences rarely happen in reality, but occasionally they do, and this is that story.