Every Day was the first book by David Levithan I read (now apparently one of my most-read authors). I didn’t pick the book (my friend who wrote the blog with me back then did). The thought of getting an MFA, let alone taking a YA literature class from David himself, weren’t even on my radar. But the book was very exciting to me. It pushed the boundaries of what I thought writing and story telling could do. Still, I guess even then I found myself wanting more. In my review, I wrote, “Rhiannon’s journey is every bit as compelling as A’s”. This is a sentiment shared by many readers and, apparently, the author as well because this month companion novel Another Day covers the same timeline told from Rhiannon’s journey. It’s a story that can be read just as easily on its own as in tandem with Levithan’s early novel – and let me tell you (written in a high-squeely-over-excited tone of voice) it is so so good. Continue reading “Another Day, by David Levithan”
When I was growing up, my grandmother used to host a classical music concert at her house every year. When I was 12 or 13 and much more into Bewitched or The Beatles or (as is evidenced by my love of this book) Broadway show tunes than classical music, I remember asking my mom if she really liked the concert. She told me that she liked going not because of the music, but because of how great it was to watch talented people having fun doing what they love. Now I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan. And I Loved (note the capital L) Tiny Cooper. But the best part of reading Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Copper Story was reading words that felt like the author had an incredible amount of fun writing.
You definitely don’t have to have read Will Grayson, Will Grayson to read this companion, musical novel, but if you have you will know that a large portion of the book’s plot centers around Tiny Copper writing, directing, and starring in a musical play about himself. Hold Me Closer is that play. Song lyrics, monologues, stage directions and all. Continue reading “Book Review: Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story, by David Levithan”
I am thrilled after my brief departure into reviewing two “grown up” books in a row, to be firmly back in YA land with Boy Meets Boy and Two Boys Kissing, both by David Levithan. After reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Every Day, I had very high hopes for these books. All of those high hopes were actualized, but in very different ways for each book.
I went to the National Book Festival (the largest book festival in the country!) this weekend. Two days of good weather, good speakers, and a huge crowd of people who also love books: what could be better or more affirming?
I saw many YA authors we’ve reviewed here on the blog, and some “grown up” authors. Everyone was fantastic. I started strong with John Green, who was probably my favorite speaker. The most interesting thing he said (aside from a hilarious story of how he met his wife) was that the relationship between readers and writers is one of mutual generosity. Side note: when I tweeted this, the Library of Congress retweeted me. I’m just going to say, that I think that officially makes me successful at life, or at least at the internet.
Next I saw Robert Caro, with his unparalleled knowledge of Nixon. Followed by Tayari Jones. Tayari was my wild card visit, but she had an infectious sense of humor and was the best dressed author of the festival. She talked about how often when girls like books and writing, people don’t view them as being smart or studious they think of them as being nice, because “you can’t get pregnant in a library.”
After Tayari, I saw Jeffrey Eugenides, a big literary heavy weight. I was so impressed that when I got home, I read The Marriage Plot (finishing last night). If you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should. Who knew contemporary fiction for adults could be so compelling?
My last author of the day was David Levithan, another writer we’ve reviewed. It was interesting to hear about his writing process and love of writing with other authors. Apparently he just writes one chapter and sends it off, then the collaborating author writes a chapter and sends it back. It sounds like it would be a fun experiment, but I can’t believe so many beloved books have been born this way.
Sunday was a little lower key. I’m sorry to admit it, but the authors didn’t intrigue me as much. The weather was better, but the crowds were much smaller than on Saturday. I heard some poetry from Nikky Finney, heard about Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s new book series (it deals with bullying and sounds much more intrigueing than the Summer I Turned Pretty series) and listened to Hope Larson, Anita Silvey, and Leonard Marcus discuss the impact of Madeleine L’Engle and A Wrinkle in Time.
Overall, it was a super fun weekend. Some lessons for next year:
- If I can only choose one day to go, I’m going on Saturday.
- They ran out of books to buy almost immediately. Next year I’m buying any books I want signed from Amazon and bringing them with me.
- I’m bringing an extra water bottle and a picnic lunch. No more $11 hamburgers for me!
There should be more videos of the author talks here in the very near future. I sincerely suggest you check a few of them out. My intention was to share all the funny quips and writing advice, these authors shared with me, but I’m afraid instead this read a bit like a book report. Was anyone else there this weekend? If so share some of your favorite speakers!
The story follows A, a sixteen-year-old who wakes up in a different body every day. The body is always the same age as A, and has been going on A’s whole life (even as a baby). A has never had siblings or parents, friends, a room – nothing except for the memories and an email address follow A from body to body, family to family.
It’s sounds depressing (and it kind of is) but since this is the only life A has ever known, there isn’t much lamenting/wallowing. A has a series of rules for how to get through the day without disturbing his body’s life too much. Keep the body safe. Don’t try and change existing relationships. And when all else fails fake sick and spend the day reading a book in bed.
This works out pretty well, until A meets Rhiannon, someone A wants to see every day. The complications and questions begin. Can Rhiannon love A back in a variety of bodies? Will she even accept A’s unbelievable situation as the truth? I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say Rhiannon’s journey is every bit as compelling as A’s.
Throughout the narrative Levithan makes some serious comments on gender, sexual orientation, race, and social class. A as a character contains none of these things – which is another interesting challenge Levithan took on. I think it is pretty spectacular how he crafts a relatable and believable character without using any of these normal describers.
This social commentary goes beyond A’s character and at times is a bit heavy handed. As A experiences the lives of everyone from a gay teen in Annapolis (my hometown!) to a drug addict, sometimes these lives can feel contrived. Many fall into the anti-stereotype category, but many more are clichéd.
Still, that is my only complaint. I highly recommend this book. I read it in about a day. It was wonderful to read something both thought provoking and unique.
For further reading and reviews: