Thursday, December 19, 2013

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

Summary (from Goodreads):
In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him . . . messing with him . . . threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he's been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan's starting to believe it's Ariel that's behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself. Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.
I was really hoping to love this one as much I loved other books by Levithan. It came highly recommended to me from a friend, so I had relatively high expectations. It just wasn’t really my thing.
The writing in it was still, as always, superb. Levithan has this super cool, flowing, almost Fight Club type stream of consciousness thing going. The whole book is told from Evan’s point of view, and it definitely reads like the mind of a teenage boy. I wasn’t sure what to think of all the words with lines through them. Eventually, I came to enjoy it. It was just Evan’s voice, his way of thinking, and his way of being who he was. I came to accept the unique writing style as part of the main character’s true voice.
I also enjoyed the photographs. It’s not often that YA books demonstrate any kind of art besides writing. The only thing I can sort of compare this to is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The photos in this book weren’t quite as irregular and creepy; yet, they had a definite spooky factor. I also like that I wasn’t told what exactly went down with Ariel until the end. This allowed for me to have all sorts of crazy guesses. Like was she dead? Is there some supernatural haunting happening? Did Evan somehow kill her? Did she run away? Did she kill herself? All of my guesses were rather dark. The character did keep saying how much life sucked though.
I also was also super into the mystery. I needed to know what happened. I needed to know who the stalker was. And I super needed to know the main character wasn’t crazy (again with a Fight Club reference). So, I did end up reading it in one sitting. This is also due to the fact though that it’s a super short/super fast read. And well, I couldn’t sleep, and I get a lot of reading done when I can’t sleep.
So, why wasn’t it my thing? I never really liked any of the characters that much. I never got to know any of the characters. I was never sure if I could trust the main character, and when I finally learned what happened, I never actually felt that much empathy for anyone because I never grew to like them. I was also kind of hoping there’d be a different conclusion.
I particularly didn’t come to know, like or understand the girl. I get that mysterious is a particularly alluring quality to guys, but she never seemed that mysterious to me. She just seemed kind of damaged.
And one of the things I never really got about Looking for Alaska was the “mysterious” girl character who came off as damaged, who has the boys in love with her. And I’m not saying that I can’t like a damaged character. I’m just saying there’s something missing. There’s not enough of the character for me to see besides her mental illness to know her. And without knowing her, I never liked her.
Evan, I at least felt bad for. It sucks to have no one believe you when you are the victim. And it sucks to feel alone and feel that no one understands you. But again, I didn’t know much about Evan besides these things. And I kind of wish I had more back story on him too.
I need more character development. And I need more empathy for characters to fully get into and appreciate a book. However, I found the unique writing style to be fantastic. I also think the photographs added a darker depth to the story (and maybe more writers will start using them?). And the suspense was spot-on. I give it a 7/10.

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