336 pages; published August 2012
A wakes up every morning in a different body, briefly inhabiting a life. Always has. Never had a body to call home. A doesn’t know why and doesn’t really have to know, because the situation just is. A is now 16 years old and wakes one day in the body of Justin, who is unremarkable except that his girlfriend, Rhiannon inspires in A a love different from any other experience. A feels it is worth risking everything to be with her again – even exposing the strange truth this multiple life.
David Levithan asks us to go on a tremendously challenging journey – to consider a person who is a simply consciousness and a series of experience, leaping every day – just for one day – into the body of another person and living their life for a fleeting moment. It doesn’t give the reader much to latch onto, because A lacks all the things we usually rely on to define one another – gender, body type, race, family, place. Give the odd premise, it’s surprisingly easy to engage in A’s life, to feel the anguish of falling in love for a person with no hope of forming a lasting attachment to anyone. Of all the characters, Rhiannon is one of the most interesting, because she at least tries to get to know A in an interesting variety of temporary bodies. Beautiful writing underpins this intriguing exploration of what it would be like to have no gender, no body, and no family – but a great capacity for love. The overall effect is brilliant and memorable.
From the Horse’s Mouth – David Levithan talking about his book