Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Day by David Levithan

Sometimes a companion novel enhances the original story. Other times it misses the mark completely. The later is, unfortunately, the case for David Levithan's newly-released Another Day, companion to Every Day (2012).

Every Day tells the story of "A", a teenager who spends each day inhabiting the body of someone else while trying not to interfere with that borrowed life. Some days that host body is male, other days it is female. A is neither and both genders (a very confusing thing to grasp even if you've read the book, but somehow Levithan, genius that he is, makes it work). This has been A's life since A was born. Everything changes the day A inhabits the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon, a sad but sweet girl who A believes deserves better. There's a connection between A and Rhiannon, and they spend the bulk of the novel trying to make a relationship work at any cost (and there are costs)...even though that relationship is doomed from the start. A somewhat up-in-the-air ending makes things seem like they'll work out for the best, though. And that made everything OK. The whole thing is very tragically romantic in the way that stories about star-crossed lovers always are. I enjoyed Every Day. It was unique, and I enjoyed reading about the world from the perspective of someone who wakes up in a different life each day.

Another Day, the exact same story, but narrated by Rhiannon, wasn't nearly as awesome. The plot was predictable and tedious, and Rhiannon's point of view didn't add much to the existing story (if anything, it took away from it). Perhaps the only difference was how Another Day changed how I perceived the characters. In this book, Rhiannon comes across mope-y, indifferent, and having really low self-esteem. And her character doesn't improve as the story progresses. A comes off as creepy and stalker-y and someone who will stop at nothing to get what he/she/it wants (Rhiannon) and doesn't care who he/she/it hurts to get what he/she/it wants (Justin, Rhiannon, and pretty much every single host he/she/it inhabits as well as the friends, family, and girlfriends/boyfriends of those hosts). The only character I felt any sympathy for was Justin. He may not have been the dream boyfriend by any stretch, but he did care about Rhiannon even if he had trouble expressing his feelings. He didn't deserve to be lied to and cheated on. Further, the ending of Another Day was much more unsatisfying and frustrating than that of Every Day, and that made the story feel unfinished. Perhaps this means an actual sequel is in the works? 

The verdict
I will not deny the awesomeness of Every Day. It is still way up there on my list. But I admit that Another Day changed how I felt about the first book--and not in a positive way. If you too loved Every Day, skip Another Day. This is one companion novel that adds nothing to the original story. --AJB

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