Every Day

by David Levithan

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What is the theme of David Levithan's Every Day?

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One of the most important themes in Every Day by David Levithan is identity. A is unable to fully create their own identity because they don't have a body or a history. When A falls in love and creates a real relationship for the first time, they become increasingly aware of how their lack of concrete identity hampers their existence. 

A lives each day in a different person's body. Through trial and error, they've learned to make as few changes as possible to the person's life. A picks up context clues and tries to get through each day without alerting people that they've taken control of that person's body during the day. When A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of Justin, who A is controlling, A falls in love. When Nathan, a boy A controls, remembers pieces of the experience and calls A a demon, A struggles with the idea that they might be evil. 

A major shift in A's personal identity occurs when they realize there are others who control people's bodies -- and that Poole, the other entity A meets is, seemingly, evil. When A finds out that they can stay in one body, it appears that A is going to take the body of an attractive, kind, loved boy who can fulfill what Rhiannon wants. Instead, A leaves that body and moves to a new area so that he won't be tempted to stay in contact with Rhiannon. 

A's struggle to define their identity is complicated, because there is nothing real about A, other than the emails that A sends back to their own account. A has no gender. When A is in a female body, A is a female. When A is in a male body, A is a male. A has no specific sexual preference. A is shaped by their experiences, like all people -- but doesn't have the defined identity that comes from living one life. A can't say that they're a son or daughter or boy or girl or anything -- A's identity shifts every day depending on what body A is controlling. 

Levithan explores the concept of identity by showcasing A's search for a sense of self through his relationship with Rhiannon. When A ultimately decides it's not right to keep someone else's body and leaves, A is choosing who A wants to be. A is choosing to reject the identity of the demon that was thrust upon them by Nathan throughout the novel. A could choose to possess one person, could choose power, but instead chooses to live by the moral code that A themself created -- and walks away from love. 

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A theme is an essential idea or meaning explored in a narrative. There could (and usually are) several in any given novel. One of the themes developed in Levathin's Every Day is the search for happiness. Interwoven into the theme of happiness are the themes of homosexuality and personal identity. 

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The overall theme of the book is love; however, the real theme is much deeper.  The book is written from the perspective of A, who is neither male nor female, homo- or heterosexual.  A is described by the author as "purely self."  A is an entity which jumps from body to body each day adopting each new self as his (I'll use the masculine pronoun just to make it easier) own for the day, experiencing religions, ethnicity, and society through different eyes.

The ability of A to impose himself into different bodies is getting closer to the crux of the theme.  Can a being (or person) put aside all notions of society and interact freely with everyone else OR are people so hardwired into social constructs that conflict is inevitable?

The theme would end there if not for A falling in love with Rhiannon.  This brings a new complication to A's life.  Can Rhiannon love him in return despite the shifting physical and social typecast of life?  As a gay author, Levithan uses this as the basic theme of the book.  Is love constrained to remain defined by the traditional notions or can it transcend race, gender, nationality and even personality?  If love can transcend the notion of society, then can people who truly love accept everyone as a being, or self, rather than as white, black, Christian or Jewish?

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What is David Levithan's book Every Day about?

Every Day is about the character of A, who is a "spirit" destined to inhabit one body every 24 hours. Recently, A inhabited the body of a teenager named Justin. This becomes an issue for A when he falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. For most of the book, A tries to figure out a way he can be with Rhiannon every day no matter whose body he is inhabiting. Meanwhile, A also has to deal with former bodies he has inhabited (specifically, how they try to put a wrench into A's plans). Unfortunately, A finds out they are unable to have any normal kind of relationship with Rhiannon. Further, A realizes their lack of relationship is probably the best thing for Rhiannon anyway. The story ends with A inhabiting yet another body (Katie) and disappearing by taking Katie on a trip.

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What is Every Day by David Levithan about?

Every Day is a young adult novel by David Levithan that was published in 2012. Straddling the genres of romance and fantasy, Every Day follows a rather unconventional protagonist who runs into some unique relationship obstacles.

The main character is known only as A, and A wakes up each day in a different body. A has no set gender or race, and their consciousness or soul inhabits the body of random people by no choice of A's own; they exist in one host body only for a 24-hour period. This proves at once fascinating and challenging for A, who is able to experience life from a stunning variety of perspectives while having no one stable, corporeal identity of their own. They have to accept their strange existence, and they make a set of rules for themselves: Don't get too attached to any one body or the people in that person's life. Respect that person's life by not upsetting the person's routines or behaving abnormally. Unfortunately, this means that A is rarely able to truly be themselves.

One day, things change: A wakes up in the body of a 16-year-old boy named Justin and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. Rhiannon has hit a rough patch in her relationship with the real Justin, and she and A bond over a day at the beach. While A is able to convince Rhiannon that A is a unique entity, no matter what form they inhabit, this makes developing a romantic relationship challenging. Throughout the course of the novel, A approaches Rhiannon in a number of different bodies, seeking to maintain their connection even as this means breaking their own rules, using these bodies for their own self expression for the first time.

Along the way, A comes to know themselves better, but not without conflict. While in the body of another teenager, Nathan Daldry, A behaves out of character for Nathan. Nathan—a shy, reserved bookworm—would never go to a party, but A does just that while in his body in order to see Rhiannon. When the 24-hour period is up, Nathan wakes up in his own body, convinced that he has been possessed by the devil. Angry, he decides to track down A, and when he spreads his story, he's no longer the only one looking for A.

While Every Day subverts the typical young adult romance in a fantastical way, at its core the novel is still very much a coming-of-age story. A and the people whose lives they touch learn a lot about living for the moment, discovering oneself, and finding love and friendship in unexpected places. Due to its popularity, Every Day was adapted into a film by the same name in 2018.

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