David Levithan has traversed the giddy highs and dismal lows of young love – gay and straight – for a decade in his fiction (Boy Meets Boy, The Lover’s Dictionary) and collaborations (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist with Rachel Cohn; Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green).
In matters of the heart, teens have certainly taken him to theirs. Levithan’s new YA novel proves to be his most nuanced yet, a tender meditation on identity and romantic love that evolves with surprising grace from a rather odd premise. Each morning for the past 16 years, A, a kind of drifting, noncorporeal consciousness, has awakened in the body of a different person, an existence that A finds both lonely and “remarkably freeing.” While in the body of self-absorbed Justin, though, A becomes smitten with the boy’s gentle, uncertain girlfriend, Rhiannon. Most of the plot revolves around A trying to spend time with her, whether in the body of a rocker, a geek, a pretty cheerleader, a burly football player or a scruffy heavy-metal fan. A’s wry, wistful voice keeps all this from devolving into Freaky Friday shenanigans, as do the sensitive glimpses into the lives of very different people, especially a suicidal girl and a confident transgendered teen.
For the Washington Post