Sunday, November 6, 2011

Review: Every You, Every Me by David Levithan


Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

Pages: 245
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Published: September 13th, 2011
IBSN: 9780375860980

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.  

Evan wasn't exactly stable with Ariel, but now she's gone and left a best-friend-shaped-hole in his life all his pretenses of normality are dropped. To top off his misery, somebody who knew Ariel, somebody she never mentioned, is sending him photos. Strange photos of Ariel and him that only somebody watching them from afar could have taken.

New books from David Levithan are an automatic must-read for me, since Dash And Lily's Book of Dares and The Lover's Dictionary. Every You, Every Me was no different in the fascinating idea and execution and the skillful writing (but that was a given before I'd even read him -- I mean, the edited Shiver and The Hunger Games).

Every You, Every Me began with the cover photograph by Jonathan Farmer, and it evolved from there with Levithan writing a section inspired by each new photograph. Farmer didn't get the read the lead up to each photo before offering each new addition, and this kind of spontaneity of writing intrigued me. Especially since I didn't know about this until the ending, and the photos always meant something to the story and were smoothly plotted.

As always, David Levithan offers a story in fresh prose, in equal parts moving and fascinating. Every You, Every Me was written in the raw and jagged way of actual thought processes, with struck out, repressed thoughts and emotion dripping from the page, stickying your hands with it in a way you couldn't just wipe off on your pants leg.

Every You, Every Me isn't just for fans of psychological thrillers; those themes take a backseat to insight into the mind of someone in emotional anguish, deeper than see in regular first-person grieving stories. Definitely for fans of darker, more serious, YA. Think like Printz winners -- Every You, Every Me will appeal to fans of Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Paper Towns, Nothing.

I give Every You, Every Me a 5 out of 5.