Every Day Summary and Study Guide
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 59-page guide for “Every Day” by David Levithan includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 41 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like The Fluidity of Identity and Defining Love as Connection and Commitment.
Every Day is the 2012 young adult novel by David Levithan. The protagonist of this teen fantasy, who is referred to as “A,” is a 16-year old with a very strange life. Every day “he” wakes up in the body of a new person. One of the only things that remains consistent is that A is always A, no matter the body. A has their own thoughts and feelings, although they often sense what their “host” would be thinking and feeling. The age of the body A inhabits is consistent with A’s age, which is sixteen years old, throughout the forty-one days of the novel.
During the 41 days of the novel, A lives as 41 different people. In the first chapter, which is actually Day 5994 of his life, A is Justin, and when he meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon, A is immediately drawn to her. On the next day, Day 5995, he realizes he cannot simply move on to his next life (Leslie Wong) and forget about Rhiannon, as he normally would. He finds ways, through the different people who he inhabits, to get back to Rhiannon. As Amy Tran, A visits Rhiannon’s school, pretending to be a new student. As Nathan Daldry, A goes to a party where he knows Rhiannon will be and starts talking to her, again without revealing his identity. At the party, he gives her his email address, and as they email back and forth, questions about A’s identity come up. A decides to tell her the truth about who he is, as scary as that is for A. When he tells her, Rhiannon doesn’t get upset or reject his story; instead, she gives him a chance to prove his story to her.
Even though Rhiannon eventually believes him, she tells him that they can’t be together because she has a boyfriend, Justin, although it’s clear to A that her relationship with Justin is not working out. As Rhiannon and A spend more time together, they become more enamored with each other, and Rhiannon and Justin eventually split up. Yet it becomes apparent that A cannot always be there for her, as he never knows what tomorrow will hold. Who will he be? What will his commitments be? This leads Rhiannon to believe that they have no chance for a life together. She needs someone who will always be there.
A then seeks out the only other person in the world who knows that A exists: Nathan, who he inhabited when he went to the party to find Rhiannon. Nathan has been trying to contact A ever since he woke up from his possession. A assumes that most of the people he has inhabited have no idea they were possessed, but somehow Nathan figured out that A inhabited his body. By discovering A’s email account on his computer (A had forgotten to clear his browsing history), Nathan was able to contact A by email, demanding answers. When they meet, Nathan, like Rhiannon, also believes him, but wants further proof, asking him to meet the next day.
The next day, Nathan is not alone. The ominous Reverend Poole, who has been giving Nathan advice, is there. Poole traps A, demanding to know his story. It becomes clear to A that Poole is not actually Poole but someone like A, a spirit moving from body to body, but unlike A, able to control the amount of time he spends in the body. Poole tempts A by saying that A too can learn to extend his possessions beyond a day.
This temptation—the ability to have a body for longer than 24 hours—leads A to a difficult decision. Although he is fascinated not only by the idea of having a life that extends beyond 24 hours, but also by the idea of finding other people who are like him, in the end, A rejects Poole’s life because he understands the ethical consequences of this decision. He knows he will never take another’s life in order to have a life himself.
When A wakes up as Alexander Lin, he knows exactly what to do. Alexander is a guy very similar to A. A tells Rhiannon he must leave her, but she should remain with Alexander, who they both admire for his kind and artistic spirit. Both of A and Rhiannon are sad but accepting, knowing there is no other way. They decide to spend one last night together, falling asleep together. The next day, A runs, fleeing from Poole, Nathan, and Rhiannon, and toward the rest of his days.