There are days when Rhiannon struggles getting out of bed knowing she has homework due which isn’t done, teachers who will bore her to tears, parents who will annoy and a boyfriend who thinks she is too needy. Rhiannon knows she will attend school and longs for the weekends to party with her friends. The thought she never has in the mornings is, “Who am I today?” She never has to question what sex she is, what town she is living in and what is on her agenda for the day. Until she meets A.
In David Levithan’s newest book, Another Day, we get to experience the other side of his original story, Every Day. In Levithan’s first installment of this story we get to meet A who is in a new body each and every day of his (her) life. From his (her) earliest memories he (she) has experiences with new parents, new schools and new life choices. In Another Day we get to see, hear and feel what it is like for a “controlled life” to encounter a life full of variables. On a Spring day A meets Rhiannon. It isn’t until her boyfriend, Justin, invites her to play hooky one afternoon at school and he becomes the most intuitive, optimistic, and amazingly charming guy Rhiannon has ever met. Rhiannon cannot believe the overall change in Justin. Until she meets A.
Rhiannon keeps asking Justin to return to the beach with her, but he cannot remember the day. He cannot remember what he said and did that day. It isn’t until Rhiannon meets A that she truly understands Justin was not at the beach that day. It was A.
It is an extremely difficult task for an author to finish a standalone book much less follow it with a book with the same content, but from the other perspective. I can understand the argument Levithan’s fans are stating that it didn’t need a second story, but I am awed by his ability to keep me reading. So often we want to hear the other side of the story.
In the classroom:
Okay, so from the English teacher standpoint I cannot stress the last paragraph of my above review enough! WOW. Two perspectives, one story. Take two paragraphs, take two pages, take two paragraphs and read it out loud to your students and make them separate which voice was whose. Who was telling it? “Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme”(CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.3.)
Levithan also does a terrific job with the scenes created in the story. Rhiannon has to email A in order to discover who and where A is for the day. “Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.5.)
Another Day by David Levithan (Knopf Books for Young Readers | 9780385756204 | August 25, 2015)