**This post contains some spoilers** To avoid those, click here to skip to the audio review.
Well, it’s round two for Every Day and me. I loved it just as much this time around. This is one of our discussion books this semester for my YA materials class. I was giddy when I read it on the syllabus. My professor had recently listened to the audiobook and said it was read by a woman. I thought that would be an interesting way to experience it for the second time, so that’s how I used this month’s audible credit. It’s always a little different reading a book for the second time. Audiobooks are a totally different experience. I also had some new thoughts in mind due to some reviews I read around the release of this book, so I thought it would be nice to write a little about my experience and thoughts this time around.
Gender is something I think most readers had trouble with when they read this novel. I had no trouble accepting that A has no gender. Sometimes A is a boy and sometimes A is a girl. However, I automatically assigned a male gender to A. This was in place almost as soon as I started reading and has remained throughout this reading. I’m not going to spend this entire post avoiding pronouns, so I’m just going with my own gender assignment. So, why do I perceive A as a boy? I have a few theories. My first idea is that it’s because he’s attracted to Rhiannon and, being a heterosexual female, I automatically stick a boy on the other end of that relationship. That was my first thought, but I don’t think it’s actually the reason. My second thought was that I perceive A as male because the author is male and tends to write male characters. The books I read by David Levithan prior to this one were Boy Meets Boy, Love is the Higher Law, The Lover’s Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. Most of the characters written by Levithan in those books are male and I also perceived the narrator of The Lover’s Dictionary to be male. I think this is probably closer to the real reason that I think A is male. My last theory is that Rhiannon refers to A as “he” or “him” at some point in the book. However, that’s happens a little later and I think I had already assigned a gender by then. I’m definitely not the only person who’s done this. I read many reviews with male pronouns and some of my classmates who read the book admitted that they did the same thing.
Soon after reading this book the first time around and loving it, I read a review that has stuck with me. It wasn’t negative, but it wasn’t positive either. Forgive me for not remembering who wrote it. The review author basically said they didn’t like A because he was selfish and messed with the lives of those whose bodies he’s borrowing. I understand this argument, but I want to point out a few things. First—and this is going to sound a little crazy considering A’s situation—let’s be realistic. We are all flawed. We don’t always make good decisions. Sometimes we totally screw things up. A, despite his situation, is only human. He makes some questionable decisions just like the rest of us. Also, A is sixteen years old. He’s certainly more mature than many sixteen-year-olds, but he can’t be expected to act responsible all the time because most teenagers just aren’t. Finally, temptation is something we all face and I’m willing to bet that most of the time we don’t win. Rhiannon is A’s temptation and he can’t resist. He gains so much from knowing her, but the guilt of screwing with people’s lives and the knowledge that he’ll never give Rhiannon what she deserves get to him. We’re all a little selfish, and why shouldn’t we be? The only people who will ever make sure we’re happy are ourselves. A was only trying to find his happiness. When he realized it would be at the expense of others, he decided he couldn’t live with that. That’s admirable because there are many people out there who wouldn’t care about the sacrifices of others.
Okay, I’ll shut up and tell you how the audiobook is. It’s often hard to go from reading a book in print to listening to an audiobook. You already have a voice in your head or you have an idea of how the characters would say certain things. If the audiobook strays from that too much, the audiobook isn’t enjoyable. I’m happy to report that this was a seamless transition. I suppose the months between my first reading and this listen had a little bit to do with that. But Alex McKenna is pretty awesome. She has a great voice for A’s character. It’s not super girly, but it’s not exactly boyish either. It’s a bit husky for a female and it really works for A. There’s a good distinction between A’s voice and Rhiannon’s voice, so that’s good. A’s voice stays the same throughout the book. I always thought it would have been cool if they hired different people for every day, but I think this works better. The story is told in first person so it makes sense that A’s voice is consistently the one he hears in his head. McKenna demonstrated emotion, took cues from the text, and delivered the lines smoothly. It was a great audio experience. I recommend giving it a listen.
If you’ve read Every Day, did you assign A to a gender? Did you think he was so selfish it was unforgiveable? Did you listen to the audio and think it was awesome (or bad)?
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