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I’d Be Running Up That Hill

Turns out, some body snatchers are actually really great people.

I’d Be Running Up That Hill

BOOK REPORT for Every Day by David Levithan

Cover Story: Not Too Shabby
BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Whimsically Weighty
Bonus Factor: Quantum Leap, Genderqueer
Relationship Status: Before Sunrise

Cover Story: Not Too Shabby

While it doesn't quite reach the ranks of Covertastic, this artwork is a far cry from the usual YA fare (even though, yes, there are floating bodies). Like, if a book store staff member found this novel lying on a table, they probably wouldn't know whether to shelve it in Adult or YA. PSYCHE! Plus, the artist did a great job of capturing the concept of the book without dumbing it down. Of course, people will probably assume that the boy floating at the bottom is in love with the girl floating at the top, when actually, they're the same person. But that's ok, because by the time people finish reading this book, they'll be kicking their heteronormative presumptions to the curb.

The Deal:

At one time or another, we've all wanted to switch places with someone-- a celebrity or a person we admire, or maybe just someone who owns a yacht. Also, there was that one day (ok, more like a year) when I wanted to be Tyra, so I could make out with Tim Riggins. But what if we could never get back to our own bodies? What if we had to experience a completely different life with each passing day? This, in a nutshell, is the world of A. Ever since A can remember, A has woken up in a different body (always near A's own age) and lived in that body until A falls asleep at night, when A then moves on to the next body. A has no choice in the matter, so A tries to appreciate the little things while not making any decisions that would dramatically change the host's life. A can access the host's memory in order to appear as normal as possible, but A has no idea what the host will remember the next day, after A is gone. It's a transient, liminal life, but A makes the best of it... that is, until A meets Rhiannon, a girl who makes A wish for a permanent body, a permanent life. A breaks all of the rules just to be close to her, but what will she think once A tells her the truth? Moreover, will she still be interested in A tomorrow, when A's appearance and gender will be completely different?

BFF Charm: Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes

A, you get the platinum, diamond-encrusted BFF charm because I LOVE YOU THAT MUCH. You are so earnest and kind, but you're also incredibly wise and thoughtful. Thanks to the dizzying array of perspectives you've experienced, you possess incredibly deep insight into the human condition, and your way of seeing the world is simply inspiring. I love the way you savor the tiny moments of your day, the way you embrace each body as a way to learn something new. Even though you've been moving around since the day you were born, you still care about each host, and you still wish the best for them. You're my role model, A, but I also want you to be my bestie, so we can meet up at Starbucks and you can tell me all about what it's like to be homeschooled or blind or good at sports or hot like Beyonce. And no matter what body you're in, I will always want to give you the biggest, greatest, most loviest hug ever, because you amaze me.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

The connection between A and Rhiannon is immediately intense, but the real swoon comes from watching it develop from something impossible into something they fight to make possible. A's feelings towards Rhiannon will make your heart soar, because A sees the beauty in Rhiannon that she doesn't see; A knows that Rhiannon is more special than she could ever imagine. Knowing that she might not reciprocate, A still risks so much to be with Rhiannon, which is incredibly romantic and heartbreaking at the same time. Their journey together is deeply compelling, and the obstacles they must overcome make the swoon pay-off that much bigger.

Talky Talk: Whimsically Weighty

My favorite thing about David Levithan's writing is his ability to challenge readers while keeping them entertained. He raises serious questions in this book about the way we perceive gender, and he even tackles other issues like suicide and alcohol abuse, but he always does it with an incredibly light hand. His style is gorgeously lyrical but plainly honest, and A's feelings pierce you with intensity on one page while making you giggle on the next. For example, A can go from this:

If you stare at the center of the universe, there is a coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn't care about us. Time doesn't care about us. That's why we have to care about each other.

to this, while in the body of Mean Girl Vanessa (who is slightly affecting A's outlook):

And Kendall's top? I don't think there's anything sadder than an unsexy girl trying to dress sexy. We should have a fund-raiser for her, it's so sad. Like, tornado victims would look at her and say, "No, really, we don't need the money-- give it to that unfortunate girl."

Levithan balances the delightful with the deep, and the result is an incredibly absorbing text that will make you want to pause to think (but not for too long, because you're dying to know what happens in the end).

And no spoilers, but the twists in this book! DAMN! Well played, Mr. Levithan. Well played!

Bonus Factor: Quantum Leap

In spite of the Rhiannon complication, it's still awesome to experience so many different people through the perspective of A. Plus, the challenges of keeping up with a different family or hobby every day are fascinating-- like, what if A has to suddenly be good at soccer? Or what if A wakes up in an non-English-speaking household? Each day is truly an adventure.

Bonus Factor: Genderqueer

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I had to look up this term, but I wanted to make sure I was using the correct reference. Genderqueer refers to: "a person who redefines or plays with gender, or who refuses gender altogether. A label for people who bend/break the rules of gender and blur the boundaries." [Source] That description fits A to a tee, and it was refreshing and inspiring to read about this perspective.

In my experience, desire is desire, love is love. I have never fallen in love with a gender. I have fallen for individuals. I know this is hard for people to do, but I don't understand why it's so hard, when it's so obvious.

DOUBLE. TRUE.

P.S. Publishers, can we get more genderqueer books? KTHX.

Casting Call:

I can't really do a casting call for A, because it would be, like 20 different people. Just use your imagination, people.

Saoirse Ronan as Rhiannon

Relationship Status: Before Sunrise

When I met this book, I knew right away that I was in the presence of something special. This book enchanted and challenged me-- it widened my perspective in beautiful ways. Our encounter was brief but deep in its impact, and I will be forever grateful for the time we shared. Ours was a bittersweet good-bye, but I bid this book farewell with the knowledge that it would go on to change the lives of so many others. And I very much hope that all of you will encounter it soon and cherish it as I did.

Dying to share a life-changing day with this book? Leave a comment for a chance to win your own copy!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Random House. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Every Day is available now.

Every Day is the FYA Book Club selection for June 2013!

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).