EVERY DAY by David Levithan Book Review
Publication Date: August 28th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
Every Day by David Levithan Book Review Overview:
- The genderless main character makes you redefine what love means
- Sweet romance with an undeniable connection between two characters
- Beautiful writing; you will want to mark up passages
Imagine if you woke up in a different body every day, but was in love with the same girl? How far would you go to make this love work? In David Levithan’s most unique novel yet, he explores this concept as A wakes up every day in a different body of a wide variety of teens.
What makes EVERY DAY by David Levithan so ground-breaking is the fact that the protagonist is not confined to a single gender. A is genderless; neither a boy nor a girl. A does not feel more comfortable or at home depending on the gender of the person. Admittedly, it is a tough habit to break not to refer to a character using pronouns but A stresses so many times in the novel that A does not categorize as one or the other. I think that this is important because of the message that David Levithan is trying to point out in regards to love: gender does not matter. Love should be between two people. That’s it.
At first, I worried that I would not be a fan of the romance in EVERY DAY. The protagonist meets Rhiannon from the very first chapter of EVERY DAY by David Levithan. There’s an instant spark; they have chemistry. My biggest fear was that this would turn out to be a meaningless insta-love match. I was wrong. David Levithan is a talented author and he evokes so much feeling through A. You are instantly able to feel the connection between A and Rhiannon and it feels like they’ve known each other for a lot longer.
I fell in love with the writing in EVERY DAY immediately. David Levithan has written a book that will make you want to mark a passage to read over and over in the future. The writing alone was a reminder as to why David Levithan book is one of my favorite authors ever.
EVERY DAY is easily one of my favorite David Levithan books right next to Boy Meets Boy and The Lover’s Dictionary. EVERY DAY by David Levithan is a book that I can see myself reading over and over again.
About the Author
David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.
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WONDER by RJ Palacio Book Review
Publication Date: February 14th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.
Wonder by RJ Palacio Book Review Overview:
- Mostly told through Auggie’s perspective but also switches to the perspective of other characters
- Inspiring and touching story; Auggie is such a delightful character to read about
- Makes you think twice about how you act towards someone with a disability
There is always some hesitation in my part when picking up middle grade novels, because there’s always the chance where the novel is not as accessible to older readers. I didn’t have a problem with WONDER by R.J. Palacio in that aspect. I think that Palacio does a wonderful job of making her writing appeal to readers of all ages.
What surprised me the most about WONDER by R.J. Palacio is the impact it had on me in terms of my thinking of how I act towards someone with a disability or a handicap. Auggie is such an inspiring character to read about. His life is hard – there’s no doubt about that. And it made me sad to read about him. But Auggie is such a fighter and he tries so hard no matter how many obstacles get in his way. Auggie made me put my problems into perspective. My problems seemed so petty in comparison to the life that he lives. Furthermore, WONDER by RJ Palacio made me think about how I conduct myself in public. WONDER will make me think twice next time I see someone with a disability or a handicap.
At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the switching perspectives throughout the novel. For the most part, the novel is told from Auggie’s point of view, but randomly switches to other characters such as his friends. My dislike for the multiple perspectives was short-lived; I fell in love with Palacio’s writing style and I loved seeing Auggie from other people’s eyes. My love for him as a character grew even more.
The ending of WONDER by RJ Palacio gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling. As a reader, I felt like I grew so much with Auggie on this emotional roller coaster. His character was developed so well throughout the book and I wanted to give him a massive congratulatory hug at the end.
WONDER by RJ Palacio is the kind of middle grade novel that should be read by all. It’s not just a “children’s” book.
About the Author
RJ Palacio lives in New York City with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For many years, Palacio was an art director and book jacket designer, designing covers for countless well-known and not so well-known writers in every genre of fiction and nonfiction. She always wanted to write, though. So Palacio decided to just go for it. Wonder is her first novel. And no, she didn’t design the cover, but she sure does love it.
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BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys Book Review
Publication Date: March 22nd 2011 by Philomel Books
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously – and at great risk – documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys Book Review Overview:
- A novel set during a part of history that you never hear about
- Obviously not a happy book, but the main character continues to persevere throughout the book
- Ending was a little disappointing and anti-climactic
Though I’ve heard great things about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys, I fear that it is the kind of book that I would have to be craving to want to pick up – but would never find the time to. So when I saw that it was available for audiobook download from my public library, I decided to pick it up. The most I knew about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys was that it was a historical novel that took place around World War II. Little did I know, it is a novel about a part of history that gets very little attention.
When you hear a novel that’s about World War II, instinctively you think the Holocaust. For the opening scenes of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys, that’s what I thought was happening in the audiobook. Boy, was I wrong. Lina and her family live in Lithuania. When the military comes knocking on their door, I really did not know much about Lina or her family or why they were being taken away. The family’s relocation also came as a shock to the characters. They had no idea what was going on and no one knew where Lina’s father was. Her family had been ripped apart and they had no idea what was in store for them. Lina and her family were sent to labor camps because Stalin had not approved of her father’s actions.
Coming into BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys, I knew that the novel was not going to be a happy tale. Lina and her family are mistreated, left hungry, and overworked. I knew that a handful of the many Lithuanians in the novel would not survive. Similar to novels about the Holocaust, it was hard for me to see a happy ending for Lina and her family. Though her struggles seemed hopeless, it did not stop Lina from being such a determined character. No matter how hard life seemed to get, Lina continued to be determined and persevere.
There is a bit of romance in the book but of course, it isn’t the main focus of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys. The romance did remind me a bit of The Diary of Anne Frank. Despite the horrible circumstances, Lina experiences some normal teenage stuff such as liking a boy for the first time.
While listening to the audiobook, I did encounter a few problems. First, the pacing of the novel is slow. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys is not one that fills me with excitement; on the contrary, the novel fills me with dread. I dreaded that the characters had to suffer so much. Because the novel itself had a slow pacing, the audiobook was even slower. It was easy to lose interest in the audiobook and it was not uncommon for me to take breaks. Furthermore, the novel alternates between past and present. Lina often has flashbacks of what life was like before her relocation. It would seem easy to notice line breaks in a novel that distinguishes a flashback, but in an audiobook you have nothing more than a pause. I did get used to the flashbacks in BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY but it always took me a few seconds to realize what was going on.
Lastly, my biggest qualm with BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys is the ending. It just felt really anti-climactic. For me, it just ended. There is an epilogue that is set years into the future, but there is a huge gap in between the end of the book and where the story picks up in the future. It was quite disappointing to listen to an audiobook with an unsatisfying conclusion.
However, reading (ugh, “listening”, whatever…) to BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys taught me a part of history that I never knew before. One of the things I love about historical novels is learning something new and I am so glad that I was able to do just that when I picked up BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys.
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys is recommended to readers who like books like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Number the Stars as well as other World War II / Holocaust novels.
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About the Author
Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is her debut novel and is based on her family’s history. “It’s a story of extreme suffering, tremendous hope, and how sometimes love reveals the miraculous nature of the human spirit,” says Sepetys. Ruta now lives with her family in Tennessee.
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