Review | Monday 01 October 2012
This is a difficult book to review – not because I didn’t like it, I certainly did, but how to write about a protagonist, ‘A’, who mysteriously inhabits the body of a completely different 16-year-old every single day?
During the course of the story the host is male, female, fat, drug-addicted, thin, black, white, gay, straight, home-schooled, depressed, kind, angry... But A’s voice is that of a young person, experienced beyond their years and shouldering the burden of a great responsibility. Thoughtful, conscientious and incredibly respectful of the host, A is without a doubt extremely likable.
Over the years A has managed to adapt to this unorthodox life and its impossible situations. But when A falls in love and begins to desire a real future, the true challenge arises.
Long after this story’s enigmatic ending, I found myself pondering A’s unusual experience of life through so many different perspectives – that of gender, physique, health and sexuality. Does A’s character somehow represent the lack of control experienced by most teenagers at some point in their lives? Am I reading too much into the story? Perhaps.
What I do know is that David Levithan is an incredibly thoughtful and perceptive writer with an uncanny ability to explore and distil the essence of feelings and relationships in the most unusual and creative way. Highly recommended for ages 15 and up.
Athina Clarke is a Children's & YA Book Specialist at Readings Malvern.