Idgiepug’s #CBR4 Review #52: Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
I made it!!!! I knew I could read 52 books in a year (and probably do most years), but I wasn’t sure about the reviews. I started off the year strong, refusing to allow myself to start a new book until I finished the review for my last novel. As the year wore on, though, I began to fall behind, and I’ve stayed behind ever since. I still have a bunch of books on my “to review” list, but I’m happy to have made it to 52.
Every You, Every Me re-affirmed my love for David Levithan after the slightly disappointing Are We There Yet? The novel is quite different; it’s focused around a series of photographs, and Levithan claims that he wrote the story as the pictures came to him from photographer Jonathan Farmer. Main character and narrator Evan begins finding photographs and realizes quickly that they are being left purposefully for him and that there is some connection between the pictures and his missing best friend, Ariel. Evan tells the story, but he’s telling it to Ariel even though she’s not around anymore. The novel presents two mysteries: what happened to Ariel and who is leaving the pictures. Evan knows what happened to Ariel, and he alludes to it frequently, but the reader has to wait to find out. Both the reader and Evan get caught up in the mystery of the pictures, and we begin to question Evan’s reliability as a narrator and his sanity at points. When he writes to Ariel, he strikes out words and sentences as he composes his story, which could be annoying, but I found it to be an interesting look into Evan’s thought process. I rushed through the book because I was so caught up in solving the mysteries, but I would have liked to have gone back and re-read it both with and without the crossed-out words to see how they changed the story. When I finished the book, I recommended it to some of my co-workers as a possible book to read with our lower-level students because the book is easy to read but geared toward teens. It’s been criticized a bit for being too angsty or “emo,” but I really liked it and I think most kids would too.
I was completely engrossed in this novel and had a hard time putting it down. I deal with emotional teenagers all the time, so maybe my tolerance is higher than most, and I loved that the novel’s style felt new and interesting. I plan to read it again soon to see what I missed in my first rushed reading.