Monday 15 June 2015

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Review: Another Day by David Levithan

Another Day by David LevithanAnother Day by David Levithan (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person... wasn’t Justin at all.
From Goodreads.

If your heart can be stolen by a book, then mine was stolen by Every Day by David Levithan. It's a beautiful story that deeply affected me, one I'll always remember - one I still get choked up when thinking about it. Since hearing Levithan was going to write a companion novel from Rhiannon's point of view, I have been desperate to read it. Another day is also a beautiful story, but in a different way.

Rhiannon is stuck in an unhappy relationship that she kids herself is a good one. Justin is moody, inconsiderate and down right rude to her, but she makes her excuses for him. She feels she is proven right when she and Justin spend this one beautiful day at the beach; it's a good day, Justin is caring and attentive, and makes her feel special. But the days following, Justin reverts back to type; distant, uncaring, rude. He doesn't seem to fully remember the day they spent together at the beach. But then she meets a girl who tells her it wasn't Justin that day. She tells her she's A, a person who wakes up each and every day in a different body, and it was A she spent the day with. A wants to be a part of Rhiannon's life, but it's so much for her to take in, to deal with. But can she walk away from someone who's shown her exactly what's it's like to be loved?

My love for Every Day knows no bounds. Considering Another Day is the exact same story from a different perspective, I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I was hoping and expecting the same roller-coaster of emotions. I didn't really get that. There were a lot of emotions, but they were for different reasons. To be perfectly honest, I didn't feel Rhiannon's feelings for A were as believable as A's for Rhiannon. I just didn't really feel it - not until later, anyway. But it's still a really fascinating story!

What we get with this story that we don't with Every Day is Rhiannon away from A. We get to know her as a person and not just see her the way A does. And there's a whole lot going on in her life that A doesn't get to see. I need to start off by talking about Rhiannon's relationship with Justin, because it was messed up. Despite what her friends tell her, Rhiannon can't see that being with Justin isn't good for her, that he isn't good for, or to, her. Even though he does care in his own way as we see later, it's an abusive relationship. He makes her feel like she's in the wrong all the time. She's too needy, she's not attentive to him enough to see he has a problem, she's not there for him, she isn't spending enough time with him, she doesn't need to pounce on him as soon as he arrives at school, she talks about the future too much... Nothing she does is right or good enough, and she's constantly walking on egg shells around him because she just doesn't know how he's going to react. Their relationship is exhausting and stressful, not just to Rhiannon, but to her friends too as they can see how badly he treats her. Thank god for A turning up!

It was wonderful being inside Rhiannon's head, and seeing her thoughts as well as her reactions to everything that happens between her and A. Once she got over the initial shock and accepted what A was telling her was true, it was brilliant to see how quickly she came to terms with the truth - by which I mean in accepting A for who they are, rather than their situation. Their situation was always going to be a difficult one, readers of Every Day already know this. But seeing the moment when she finally accepted this wasn't a trick or a prank, but A's actual life, and how she then started thinking of A was great. It really got Rhiannon thinking about gender, but also people in terms of who they are as well as what they look like. She thought of A as male, even thought she knew and understood A was neither and both at the same time. She would change the pronouns for A depending on the sex of the body A was in, though would sometimes include the opposite pronoun with a question mark in brackets after. There's a great part where Rhiannon questions how different we would all treat each other if there were no he/she, his/her pronouns, but one for all, and how it must be for A that there isn't one that fits for...him/her.

There's this fantastic image she comes up with about cars and drivers in relation to people. We need to care less about the car - the body of a person/what a person looks like - and care more about the driver - who is on the inside. It's such a wonderful idea, and it's one she really tries to put into practise. But it's also one she struggles with. She loves A, but she can't help that she's straight and not attracted to girls, or that there are certain guys she just doesn't find attractive. So she can't kiss A sometimes. She feels bad about it for A's sake, but struggles with the idea of having to do something she's uncomfortable with. It's the person on the inside the counts, the outside shouldn't matter... but sometimes it does.

Although I wasn't as emotionally invested in her relationship with A in this book as I was in Every Day, it was still really sweet to watch it develop. It wasn't until close to the end that I really started to feel it, when she decided it was just too much, and then having to live with that decision and how hard it was for her. I felt it then, the love that felt missing before. And the ending was so bittersweet, and it did really get me - I did get a little choked up. It was wonderfully sad and lovely and sweet and painful. But... it looks to me like it's been left open. That there is the possibility of a third book. I don't know if that's the plan, or if it's so the ending isn't tied up with a neat bow, that life goes on for characters after the last page, and perhaps not how you expect. It keeps you guessing about how the story for Rhiannon might continue. Where will her future take her? It's fun to think about, though I'm not denying I would be thrilled if there was a third book in the making. I would love to read that book! But I'd also be happy if this is it. The ending as it is works for me. It's great.

A really wonderful companion to a beautiful book. If you loved Every Day, it's imperative that you read Another Day.

Thank you to Electric Monkey for the review copy.

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Published: 30th July 2015
Publisher: Electric Monkey
David Levithan's Website

My other reviews from the series:
Every Day (Every Day Book 1)


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