I was so excited to start this book, I had been hearing wonderful things about it and the premise sounded really interesting. I just wish that I liked it more than I did. This was a good book, don't get me wrong, but I think the thing that ruined it most for me was that my expectations were too high based on everything I heard. The storyline was still interesting, but I just couldn't dive in as much as I wanted to.
There were some issues I had with this. First off the way that A spoke. No teenager speaks the way he does. It was too mature for how old he was and I just couldn't believe it. If anything in a story should be believable it should be the main character. My next biggest issue was the serious case of instant love. A knew Rhiannon for maybe 6 hours and he knew he was in love with her? I think that is kind of forced. No way can anybody fall in love with someone after 6 or so hours. It just does not happen, you can't know anything about the person that has any substance at all.
The one part of this story I liked the best was the end. Not because it was over but because of how the story ended. I believe that A made the right choice in the end, both for Rhiannon and himself. I think the decision itself showed how much A cared about her because he knew he wouldn't be able to be what was needed.
While this story may not have been the one for me I will definitely be checking out another one of his books.
First, the positives. Every Day definitely kept my interest. I was never bored, and I thought his prose had a nice simple flow to it. The concept was indeed both original and interesting, and I kind of liked that, like A, we never really figure out why he* jumps from body to body each day. It's just a mystery that A has come to accept, and therefore we have to accept it too. Which kind of diffuses the paranormal aspect of the book, since A really isn't interested in why he jumps bodies every day. I thought it was kind of neat to have a paranormal-esque book where the protagonist really wasn't very interested in finding out anything about the paranormal aspect. He just accepted it and moved on.
I liked Rhiannon, the girl A falls in love with. She felt infuriatingly real to me, in that occasionally she'd act like a real person instead of being a neat and tidy fictional character and that was bothersome (like when she insisted on sticking with her deadbeat boyfriend).
Unfortunately, here's where my positives end. While I liked Rhiannon, I didn't love her, and I couldn't see anything extraordinary about her that caused A to fall in love with her during his one day inhabiting the body of her boyfriend. Certainly nothing that would provoke the stalker-like behavior that he started exhibiting afterward.
And then there was A. The premise of the book is, "can you truly love someone who is destined to change every day?" And while I think exploring the answer to that question is interesting, the problem with this book's way of exploring it is that A did not seem to be a character worth that sort of transcendental love. He's kind of flat. He doesn't have much in the way of personality. He's not particularly funny. Yet Rhiannon tries really hard to make things work between them, and I don't understand why. To make that sort of sacrifice in a relationship, I'd think the other person would have to have a spectacularly awesome personality to get past the physical weirdness, and A just doesn't. He's obsessive and intellectual and kind of judgmental and not all that amusing. It almost makes me wonder if the fact that Rhiannon is inherently a good person, combined with the intrigue of the body switching, is why she attempts to make things work with A at all. Because contrary to how many times they insist it is his sparkling personality, I just don't see it.
Then we get to the book's subplot, where one of A's daily hosts catches on to him and makes it his mission in life to figure out who/what A is and expose him to the world. And seriously, this annoyed me so much. Not just the fact that A dismissed the character's obsession to find out who had taken over his body for a day as inconsequential and unhealthy. A tends to be extremely un-empathetic and self-involved, so I could look past the fact that he thought being, essentially, possessed for a day should be no big deal to someone else. But on top of that, every foray into this subplot felt like a poorly placed and ill-informed jest at the Christian community, which I didn't appreciate. Are there crazies in the world, Christian and otherwise? You betcha. But the way this book handled the whole situation left a bad taste in my mouth.
And speaking of things that left a bad taste in my mouth, let's talk for a minute about the main plot of the book: the "romance" between A and Rhiannon. First of all, Rhiannon seems like a reluctant participant the entire time, which makes me not really want to root for this romance (especially since I already liked her more than A). Second, A is dismissive and condescending about her concerns, which are legitimate and serious. Every time he suspects that maybe her hesitation is in any way tied to the body he's in, he's disappointed in her. Not in the hand they were dealt. In her. Which completely discounts the role physical attraction plays in romance. And while I don't think romance based solely on physical attraction is healthy, I also don't think one should completely disregard the role physical attraction plays in romantic relationships. Beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder, and different appearances appeal to different people, but the fact that he seemed to look down on her any time he suspected she may not be physically attracted to the body he was currently inhabiting bothered me immensely.
Now, I understand that because A does not have a physical body of his own, he has taught himself to believe that the physical self doesn't really matter. It's kind of a self-preservation mechanism. So in terms of the character, I can understand why he thinks that way.
But the way he expresses his views throughout the book seemed heavy-handed and unreasonable to me, and once again, I found it hard to root for him.
Now, lots of people have complained about the end of the book. This is one thing I actually didn't have a problem with. No, it's not a storybook ending. But it felt like a good conclusion to the story of A and Rhiannon, and while maybe it wasn't entirely satisfying, I thought it was appropriate. So on that front, I have no complaints.
Overall, I give it an A for originality, but a D for characters and connection. I know I'm in the vast minority here, as most of the reviews I've read indicate that readers were sobbing and heartbroken over this book. I wanted to be among them, truly I did, but in the end, I remained unmoved.
*I refer to him as "he," because although he thinks of himself as genderless, his voice sounded extremely male to me. Plus, we first meet him as a guy, and you know what they say about first impressions