Last Updated on October 30, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1309
A is the narrator and main character of Every Day. Every day, A—who has no gender—wakes up in the body of a different person, unaware of who the person will be, what their life will be like, or what they will face during that day. All A knows is that the person will be the same age as them and geographically close to the last person they inhabited. To cope, A has a method of getting through the day: most of the time, they simply try to create as few problems as possible and leave the life they are visiting undisturbed. A is able to access the person's memories to help them navigate that person's life.
A has never known why they don't have their own body or why they move from body to body each day, nor have they ever had a choice about who they wake up as. They are compassionate after many years of living in different bodies and respectful of the people whose bodies they inhabit for a day. When A meets Rhiannon while in the body of her boyfriend, it's the second time A falls in love—and the first time they fight to have a real life.
A recognizes that their relationship with Rhiannon isn't healthy for her. Neither of them is able to know who or where A will be from day to day or if Rhiannon will be attracted to the body A inhabits. The situation is awkward and upsetting, and it makes it difficult for their burgeoning romance to succeed.
When A finally has the chance to remain in one body and be with Rhiannon, their innate goodness and selflessness shine through: they refuse to take over someone else's life and instead set Rhiannon up for a happier relationship with Alexander, a boy whose body A inhabits for a day. A then chooses to travel as far away as possible from Rhiannon so that they will begin to wake up in bodies that aren't as close to her.
At the end of the novel, A is faced with the chance to take the life they want, but they decide to stick to their principles—even though it means continuing to move from one body to the next and leaving Rhiannon behind. The choice is a confirmation of the values A has lived with throughout their life.
Rhiannon is the girlfriend of a boy named Justin, whose body A inhabits at the beginning of the novel. When A first meets Rhiannon, they notice that she is both happy and unhappy to see Justin, behaving nervously yet clearly adoring him. She draws cities on her shoes, and A finds her brave and sad; they can tell that Justin treats her poorly. Rhiannon asks A, as Justin, to take her to the ocean.
A falls in love with Rhiannon and communicates with her via email in their different forms each day. When they finally meet again, A confesses the truth about their life to Rhiannon. They attempt to be together, but Rhiannon stays with Justin until Justin attacks A in Michael's body. Even after she and Justin break up, Rhiannon says the two of them are still attached and that it will take years before she can be free of Justin.
Rhiannon is kind and intelligent but unable to cope with the difficulties that come with dating A, confessing she can't love every person A inhabits equally. Their relationship is unstable and makes her feel awkward and unhappy, and she needs time to process her break-up with Justin. Rhiannon also has a troubled relationship with her father and misses her sister, who no longer calls home. For awhile, Rhiannon stops seeing A, and while they eventually resume their relationship, A ultimately decides that Rhiannon needs to be in a stable relationship with a normal person.
Rhiannon doesn't believe she deserves love and respect until A shows her what a caring relationship looks like, and the novel's ending suggests the sadness that initially surrounds her may dissipate with time.
Justin is Rhiannon's boyfriend; A first inhabits his body on day 5,449. Justin is messy, prefers video games to books, and smokes cigarettes. He has been dating Rhiannon for over a year but isn't very caring toward her, and A recognizes that Justin is the dominant party in the relationship, determining most of what they do together. Rhiannon describes sex with Justin as rushed and lacking in intimacy.
Justin does not grow or learn over the course of the novel, either from his interactions with A or from the end of his relationship with Rhiannon, and he fails to recognize that someone else is in Rhiannon's body the day A inhabits her.
A first inhabits Nathan on day 5,999; he immediately recognizes that Nathan is a good person who gets enough sleep, does his homework, and acts responsibly. In Nathan's body, A attends a party in order to see Rhiannon again. When Nathan wakes up in his own body, however, he becomes convinced that he was possessed. He speaks to reporters and emails A to tell them that they won't get away with what they're doing.
Nathan mostly functions as a way to show A that their actions affect other people, despite their attempts to minimize the damage. He also connects A to Reverend Poole, who tempts A with the possibility of remaining with Rhiannon in a body of their choosing.
Reverend Anderson Poole
Like A, Reverend Poole is a being who can inhabit the bodies of others; Poole, however, has found a way to take over a body and stay in it for as long as he chooses. He is first introduced as a religious leader who counsels Nathan in the wake of his "possession" by A and creates a website where people can describe similar experiences.
When A speaks with Poole, A can almost see the "real" Poole in the man's eyes, trying to warn them not to give in to temptation. Heeding that warning, A flees Poole, who claims that all the other beings like them have come to Poole for help and that A eventually will, too.
Poole's most important function in the novel is giving A a moral choice. A has always acted with as much decency as they could because they didn't think they had a way to inhabit a body for longer than a day, but once A finds out there are other options, their principles are put to the test.
On day 6,033, A wakes up as Alexander Lin, a boy who likes to read, plays guitar, and lives in a caring, stable home where his friends are welcome. Alexander Lin makes A smile even before they get to know him—he has close relationships with his friends, and he's kind and reliable.
When A inhabits Alexander, he asks Rhiannon to pretend they've just met. They go out on a date, acting as though it's their first, and A tells Rhiannon to try to build a relationship with Alexander.
Alexander himself doesn't appear as a character in the story outside of A's impressions and memories, but he is significant as the person A uses to give Rhiannon a chance at love and happiness.
A wakes up in the body of Kelsea Cook on day 6,005, and they describe her mind as a dark place. When they realize that Kelsea wants to kill herself and that her deadline for doing so is rapidly approaching, A calls Rhiannon for help; she comes over, and they kiss. Acting on Rhiannon's advice, A tell Kelsea's father about Kelsea's suicidal thoughts, and he promises to try to find her help.
Later, Rhiannon calls Kelsea's father and finds out that Kelsea has left home for awhile to deal with her problems, and A hopes that their intervention has helped to save Kelsea's life.