Another Day by David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
**Thank you to Random House Children’s for providing me a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
David Levithan has this aura about him in the YA community — and it’s well-earned. Over the past 10+ years he’s published a slew of darn good novels. Whether you like the stories or not, it’s impossible to deny that they’re raw and impassioned looks at teens who’re always on the edge of the societal norm.
I, myself, had only ever read EVERY DAY, the companion/precursor to this novel. It was one of my favourite books I read in 2013, and I thought it not only executed its clever premise — a being, “A”, wakes up every day in a different body — very well, but told a heart-wrenching tale of love and identity. Levithan held up a mirror to the reader and asked, “Who are you?”
ANOTHER DAY is a lovely companion novel for its predecessor. Focusing, instead, on the object of A’s affections, Rhiannon, Levithan manages to hold up the same mirror, this time asking someone so sure of who they are and what they deserve, “Who are you?”
This is a young adult we all know well, some of us may have even been her: Rhiannon is vanishing within her own life. Justin, her troubled boyfriend, causes her simultaneous happiness and frustration, but no real joy. In the day that A spends inhabiting Justin’s body, Rhiannon experiences that one day of bliss and genuine happiness.
Imagine that then being completely ripped away.
Rhiannon struggles with self-worth honestly, in a very raw and human way. She can acknowledge that she feels herself slipping away and just becoming some kind of machine that goes through the motions of life, but doesn’t know how to break free of this cycle. She doesn’t know predominantly because she doesn’t think she’s worthy of something better. I think of a line from Stephen Chbosky’s THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER:
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
That is the core of Rhiannon and, unfortunately, she lets this way of thinking begin to seep into her life as a whole.
That’s part of the beauty of A’s introduction and the way that the utterly improbable basis of his existence awakens something within Rhiannon. Curiosity and the focus on something non-ordinary in what has become a routine existence eventually becomes a journey of self-discovery. In discovering more about A, Rhiannon becomes fully self-actualized.
Like its companion, ANOTHER DAY requires a serious suspension of disbelief — if you can’t do that, you’re not going to enjoy this novel — but the payoff is worth it. These novels are about the emotion responses they elicit and the ideas they present. I was willing to do this and felt very rewarded at the end of the reading experience.