Every Day by David Levithan

Can you imagine going through life waking up every day in a new body? Borrowing other people’s lives, families, rooms, schools, friends.. but never having your own? Though it sounds lonely and hard, A makes their way through life like this. A doesn’t know their sex or family because A has been shunted from body to body since A was an infant. A doesn’t fight against it until one day, A falls in love.

The day A falls in love is much like any other. A wakes up in a 16-year-old’s body, a boy named Justin.  A eats breakfast with Justin’s parents, goes to Justin’s school and meets Justin’s friends. Much like any other day. But then A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon and everything is suddenly different. They run away for the afternoon and have one, shining, perfect day. Afterwards A decides that A wants to be with Rhiannon, every day, no matter who A becomes tomorrow. A is sometimes girls and sometimes boys, sometimes miles away and sometimes just next door. A tries to find out if love can in fact, overcome all obstacles.

Levithan often writes about love. Simple love, teen love, complicated love, but it is almost always, love.  He writes about it effortlessly and beautifully, making the reader want nothing more than to be a part of his stories even when they end sadly. His writing often addresses humanity in a way that is thoughtful and kind. He writes about love whether it be between two boys, two girls or two people of the opposite sex.

Every Day is no different. Exploring how it could feel to be pursuing a relationship when tomorrow you may be a boy or girl, fat or thin, gay, transgendered or straight. A experiences all these aspects of love and relationships. It is well written, engaging and sweet. Every Day is a book you won’t want to put down until the end, because love is love, no matter who, especially in this case, you are.

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Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.

Oh David Levithan, may I call you David? I now officially adore you. Rachel Cohn, I haven’t read your work before but I certainly will now. I truly enjoyed the sweetness of A Lover’s Dictionary, but Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares stole my heart. This book is like a big bear hug infused with lots of intelligence, wit and an almost obsessive love of books. (which we all know, is the best kind.)

Its Christmas season in Manhattan and Dash and Lily, 16, are thrown together in a whirlwind adventure that starts and ends in the Strand. (If you don’t know the Strand, it is also known as the most awesome bookstore in New York.) Lily leaves a red moleskine notebook (because what other kind would feature in a bookstore adventure?) which she hides among the stacks of the Strand, next to Franny and Zoey, of course. She leaves a trail of literary clues in the notebook for a boy to find and follow. Dash, a fellow book lover, finds the notebook, follows her clues and then in return, leaves some of his own. They pass the notebook back and forth in places that tell the other person a little about their personality and their lives. Lily leaves it with Santa (she loves-loves-loves christmas), Dash leaves it at the movie Grandma Got Run Over By Reindeer (dash, obviously, does not.) And on and on they go, until well.. you’ll see.

This book is obviously written by a bibliophile and will appeal to all such like-minded book geeks everywhere. But it will also appeal to anyone who loves a good laugh and a great turn of phrase. They, and their story, are clever while being irresistibly charming. Although at times it may feel a little unrealistic because these teens are so well read, so articulate, so eloquent and so lovely, I found myself not caring. It is just extremely satisfying to believe, if only within the pages of this book, that such teens exist. That such people exist.

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

“I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.”

Alphabetical entries line the pages of this book in an exploration of love. Heartbreak, boredom, devastation, tenderness, pure contentment; every aspect of a relationship is explored in bite sized doses. When I first glanced at this book I wasn’t sure if definitions were enough to really create a story I would enjoy, but I admit I loved it from the first page.

“You fell quiet, gestured for me to listen. The sound of the woods, the feel of the air. The wine settling in my thoughts. The sky, so present. And you, watching me take it all in. Naked to the world. The world, naked to us.”

The smallest details of relationships seen to be examined with care and recorded according to their correct word.  Annoying habits. Sweet silent exchanges. Fighting. Families. The feeling of being lost, even when you’re in someone’s arms.

This little gem of a book is a must own for anyone who loves writing filled with beautiful imagery and eloquent moments. I am happy it has a place in my bookshelves.

“Finally, I said. Its over.”