Publication date: Aug 28, 2012
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“when who you are changes every day — you get to touch the universe more. Even the most mundane details. You see how cherries taste different to different people. Blue looks different. You see all the strange rituals boys have to show affection without admitting it… You learn how much a day is truly worth…”
Imagine what it’d be like if every day, you woke up in a different body, knowing that you are still you, only in a different frame, with different memories to access and different struggles to overcome. The narrator of this novel, who calls him/herself “A” has learned how to deal with this life… until he becomes Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, the first person he’s met who really makes him want to stay. Having a relationship, however, is complicated when you don’t know where you’ll wake up or who you’ll be the next day.
The author of this book has a way with words. His first-person narratives convey so much emotion that it’s hard not to get caught up in the ups and downs of A’s budding relationship with Rhiannon. I LOVED the plot premise — it was creative, made you think, and was wonderfully executed. Each chapter was a different day with a different host body, and I really got a picture of how strange and unique it must be to have such discontinuity from day to day — not knowing if you’ll wake up as a suburban boy with a stable family, or a troubled girl with a vicious hangover. Despite the daily jumps, the story is cohesive and doesn’t feel fragmented or choppy. I really liked the ending; it gave me more respect for the main character and was bittersweet, but made sense.
I did not agree with all of the narrator’s philosophical ponderings within the novel, and there seemed to be a disproportional number of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered characters that A inhabited. I get that the author was trying to make a point about the people we love, and how it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but with only those examples (What about a mixed-race couple? a couple where one person is significantly older? There’s other ways to get the point across!), it ended up coming across as too political for my liking.
Heads up: Does contain sexual content (PG-13-ish) and some mature issues (suicide, drug use, etc)
Overall: An awesome concept, well-executed, to create a unique story about love and identity.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this novel!