Random Review: Every Day

I am surprised I did not like this book more.

Every Day by David Levithan3207401

A is a person without a body, awaking each day as someone new and supplanting that individual’s consciousness. It has been that way as long as A can remember, and A expects it to continue that way forever. A just tries to make as little impact as possible, until the day the mistreated girlfriend of the body A’s inhabiting piques interest. Suddenly A is desperate to hold on, after a lifetime of letting go.

On the surface, this seemed like a book I would love. I’ve really enjoyed the other Levithan projects I’ve read (Every You, Every Me and will grayson, will grayson.) I am the type of person who watched every episode of Quantum Leap, binge-watched Sense8 (twice), and tries to imagine the lives of other people driving down the highway with me. Where they are going, what they worry about, who they love and who loves them.

Every Day is well-written. It is an interesting story that has emotional resonance and high stakes, and yet it was just a three-star read for me. I am not sure why. Maybe because the idea that everyone has problems and worries and great loves is not an earth-shaker for me. Maybe because A falls in love with a thin, blue-eyed, blonde doormat and that is just painfully typical.

I think that’s it. The whole story centers around the growing connection between A and Rhiannon, and the impossibility of making it work, and I just didn’t like Rhiannon much. It was clear why she appealed to A: they are both intuitive, compassionate dreamers yearning for deep connection. The narrative explored just about every type of relationship and attraction through A’s body-hopping, which was a lot more gripping than the relationship on which A focused. I just felt like rolling my eyes at the desperation to get back to this blah girl who lets her boyfriend treat her like crap because he’s cute and has a sob story.

I wanted to like this so much more than I did, but I think a teenager who hasn’t read or seen much along these lines might be blown away by it. I suppose I will pass it on to my students and find out!

Chair Rating:

Looked more special than it felt.

Looked more special than it felt.

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Random Review: The Raven Boys

A mix of A Separate Peace and The Goonies, with a few ancient supernatural forces thrown in for good measure.

The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys

Blue Sargent is a signal booster for the supernatural, which makes her a blessing to both her professionally clairvoyant family and a few boys at the local boarding school who’ve been chasing a legend. Blue can’t see the spirits herself, though she accompanies her mother annually to a graveyard on St. Mark’s Eve, where those destined to die in the coming year pass through. When Blue sees her first spirit, one of those Aglionby boys, she knows one of two things: he is either her true love, or she will be the one to kill him. Though she knows nothing good can come from running with the privileged Raven Boys of Aglionby Academy, she can’t help but be caught up in the search for an ancient Welsh king, led by the boy who will break her heart.

Obviously this book came out awhile ago and, as I had pre-ordered it, I read it pretty much the instant it was released. As a big fan of both The Goonies and A Separate Peace, the story was right up my alley, though I felt as a novel it didn’t always work. Now that we are on the eve of The Dream Thieves release, I thought it was about time I posted a review. Let me just state out front that I will be reading the sequel.

There are a lot of elements at play in the story of Blue and The Raven Boys’ search for Glendower, and some work better than others. Blue’s family is easily the strongest aspect: a houseful of spiritually attuned women who use their gifts for second sight to make a living, the dynamic between the different seers makes for great reading. One of the most chilling scenes in the novel takes place at Blue’s house, and it gave me the genuine, all-out willies. One of the weaker elements is the depiction of the boys themselves. The narrative rests heavily on their relationship, and their interactions don’t always ring true. Each of them is an interesting, fleshed-out character, but when they speak to each other it sounds like a girl imagining a conversation between boys rather than one boys would actually have. There is a villain of sorts, but his story is joined to the main narrative so awkwardly that I keep forgetting he exists.

This is a story with massive potential, and while The Raven Boys didn’t always hit the right notes for me, I will absolutely be back to find out what happens in The Dream Thieves. The novel has adventure, realistic romance, spooky supernatural moments, and healthy doses of mystery and humor. It probably suffered slightly in my view because it followed the near-perfect The Scorpio Races, but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Goonies, A Separate Peace, or even Indiana Jones.

Chair Rating:

Potentially magnificent, comfortable enough to sink into, a bit threadbare in places.

Potentially magnificent, comfortable enough to sink into, a bit threadbare in places.