Suspend Disbelief EVERY DAY

In a starred review, Booklist says that David Levithan in his YA novel, Every Day (RH/ Knopf Books for Young Readers; Listening Library; releases tomorrow), has created  “an irresistible premise that is sure to captivate readers, ” about a 16-year-boy who wakes up each morning in a new body but still in love with the same girl and trying to find his way back to her.  The reviewer admits, however, that “the story requires a willing suspension of disbelief.”

Evidently NYT columnist Frank Bruni isn’t willing. In a review in the special “Back to School” childrens books section of Sunday’s NYT Book Review, he duns the book for being “wantonly sentimental” and filled with ”unnecessary subplots and too many gimmicky passages.”

He does admit, however, that there are elements that are likely to make the book the hit; “Levithan’s talent for empathy, which is paired in the best parts of the book with a persuasive optimism about the odds for happiness and for true love.” Bruni notes that the novel’s central question, “the degree to which love can be bigger than, or a slave to, corporeal realities…makes special sense in a story about teenagers, written for teenagers. The teenage years are when so many of us feel most self-consciously hostage to our imperfect shapes and cosmetic peculiarities, raging against them and wondering if someone might possibly love us despite them.”

Entertainment Weekly reviewer Stephen Lee exhorts readers to “Suspend disbelief and give the out-there premise of David Levithan’s new novel, Every Day, a chance.”  On EW’s “Shelf Life”  blog, he calls it one of his two favorite YA novels of the year (along with John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars) and posts a video featuring two dozen YA superstars reading from it.

In addition to being an author, Levithan is publisher and editorial director  at Scholastic. He came up with the idea for 39 Clues and the new Infinity Ring series and is the editor of  The Hunger Games. Below, he reads from Every Day.

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