“Sad Beautiful Tragic”: Another Day by David Levithan

August 17, 2015 / 0 Comments / Review, Uncategorized

“Sad Beautiful Tragic”: Another Day by David LevithanAnother Day

Author: David Levithan
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Series: Every Day #2
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: August 25th 2015
Source: ARC from BEA15
My rating:
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible

The eagerly anticipated companion to David Levithan’s New York Times bestseller Every Day   In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author  of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.   Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.   Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

Spoilers for Every Day – but honestly, I’m not convinced that you should pick up this book without reading Every Day first, even though I know it’s written so that you can. If you haven’t read Every Day yet, please go check out my review of that first!

Another Day is definitely going to be one of those books that polarizes people – you’re either going to like it or hate it. I fall more on the side of liking, because I really liked Every Day and I’m a person who appreciates literary exercises, even if they don’t seem to have a necessity. And that’s what Another Day is to me: it’s a writing experiment for Levithan. While Every Day was a profound and interesting exploration of the entity A, who has no body of his/her own, but wakes up in the body of a new person every day, Another Day explores Rhiannon’s side of the same story – how it feels to fall in love with someone who has no body and is sexless and genderless.

In the first book, what was interesting to me was seeing A’s life switching bodies, and the wonder he/she gets through that experience. Another Day, however, is all about the romance between Rhiannon and A, and her somewhat abusive relationship with her boyfriend Justin.

Let me be clear that the relationship between Justin and Rhiannon is never physically abusive, but it was definitely emotionally manipulative and toxic. Rhiannon isn’t even allowed to ask Justin whether he wants to do something the next weekend because he feels like she’s trying to tie him down. He never really asks her about her day, but expects her to be around for him whenever he needs her. And the worst part of that is that she lets him.

It was really hard to be in Rhiannon’s headspace around Justin, because it’s a dark place where she feels like she deserves the treatment that she gets from Justin. Levithan does a really good job making the relationship authentic, but it did get frustrating because, as the reader, we not only know that A is better for Rhiannon, but we also see how terrible Rhiannon and Justin are for one another. There was more than one time when I wanted to throw the book across the room because Rhiannon wouldn’t leave Justin.

In contrast, Rhiannon’s relationship with A is explored a bit more deeply than it was in Every Day. While the first novel focused on the things A did in order to get to Rhiannon, this book explores the possibility – and the impossibility of a relationship with A. Rhiannon really does attempt to “date” A, but through her eyes, we realize not only the unreliability of being with someone who can’t actually be there for her when she needs him/her, but also our own (and her own) limitations as a person. And the latter is where I think the book holds the most truth: because as much as Rhiannon wants to be a person who can get past the exterior, it *is* like meeting a new person every time she meets with A. And even if she can get beyond gender, you understand, as the reader, how hard it might be to get beyond not being able to introduce a person like A to your family and friends. A can never be a part of her life, and it’s a lot to ask Rhiannon to be with someone she can’t share her life with.

I was more heartbroken at the end of this novel than the first, and more frustrated by the open-endedness. Even though I knew that this was a companion novel and not a sequel, I definitely noticed this time around how much Levithan had set up the story to continue – how there are threads that could be made into a real sequel. The fact that there is no sequel (and no plans for one as of yet) really rankled this time around.

Book Theme Song:

Sad Beautiful Tragic by Taylor Swift

We had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair

In dreams I meet you in warm conversation
We both wake in lonely beds in different cities
And time is taking its sweet time erasing you
And you’ve got your demons, and, darling, they all look like me

Words to Live By:

“So I get to be the bitch now? Fine. Then you, my friend, are the scary girl. ‘He doesn’t hit me. He doesn’t abuse me. He doesn’t cheat on me.’ Can you hear yourself? If those are the standards you have–hey, he hasn’t punched me, so everything must be okay!–that scares me. That makes me think that at some point you’ve used these justifications. ‘Oh, it’s really bad right now, and he’s being awful…but at least he’s not hitting me. Have a little more respect for yourself than that, okay?”

“…It’s just nice to see you out from his shadow. Because things don’t grow in the shadows, you know? So it was frustrating to see you standing there…and really cool to see you step out of it. I don’t know who this new guy is, but make sure when you’re with him, you’re not standing in his shadow. Stand where everyone can see you.”

“…I read it a lot, whenever I find it in a library. Partly because I find new things every time I read it, but also because these books are always there for me. All of them are there for me. My life changes all the time, but books don’t change. Your reading of them changes–you can bring new things to them each time. But the words are familiar words. The world is a place you’ve been before, and it welcomes you back.”

“I’m just wondering why people stay together,” I say. “Why they connect in the first place, and what keeps that connection is strong. I want it to be all things inside—who you are,  what you believe. But what if the things on the outside are just as important? When I was little, I was always worried I’d fall in love with someone ugly. Like Shrek. Then I figured that love would make anyone beautiful to me, if I love them enough. I want to believe that. I want to believe that you can love someone so strongly that none of it will matter. But what if it does?”

“I find myself looking into people’s eyes more than I ever did before. And I realize, that’s where we stop being a certain gender or color. Just look right into the center of the eye.”

The Final Word

Overall, Another Day was an interesting read, but not one that stands out or stands alone for me. It had a realistic portrayal of a bad teen relationship, but it didn’t delve deep enough to be really strong in that. While there are moments of beauty in the writing, it wasn’t enough to make this a really necessary novel, and I mostly just wished that a real sequel to Every Day was available instead.

ANOTHER DAY comes out next week. Will you be reading it? Have you read Every Day or any of David Levithan’s other books? How do you feel about stories from alternate points of view?

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