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.
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