Saturday, December 17, 2011

Review: Every You, Every Me (Levithan)

AUTHOR: David Levithan; photos by Jonathan Farmer
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers
PUBLICATION DATE: Sept. 13, 2011
ISBN: 9780375860980
PAGES: 245
SOURCE: public library
GENRE: realistic, mystery
GIVE IT TO: grades 8-12
SUMMARY: Ariel is gone. When her best friend Evan who was also in love with her suddenly begins receiving disturbing cryptic messages and photographs, he is convinced that someone is stalking him they are from connected to Ariel. Told through photographs, prose, and strikethrough text.

READALIKES: Thirteen Reasons Why (Asher), Hold Still (LaCour)

  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Engrossing: 2/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5
  • Language: mild
  • Sexuality: mild-medium; some talk of teens having sex; some remembered kissing
  • Violence: mild; stalking, talk of suicide
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I just ordered it. While the subject matter is somber and the presentation quiet, I think Every You, Every Me will be popular with my girls who are constantly asking for "serious" books. The unique format and short length will make it an easy sell, even for reluctant readers.

WARNING: The reviews on this site are intended for librarians who need thorough book reviews in order to make informed purchasing decisions. As such, anything below this warning may contain mild spoilers. I try not to give away too much, but I do review the entire book.

WHAT I LIKED: Hands down, my favorite thing about Every You, Every Me is the format. I picked this one up at the public library knowing nothing about it at all, and the crossed-out words and photographs piqued my interest. Despite a 3.46 Goodreads rating on my trusty Goodreads iPhone app, I was so curious about the format that I checked it out anyway.

While the story itself is slow and quiet (which I don't normally like so much), it works really well for this book. Evan narrates the story, and readers will clearly see his slow descent into depression, which began with what happened with Ariel and has worsened by the time the book begins. The mystery of what happened to Ariel and who is stalking Evan keeps the story moving along, despite Evan's profound sadness and confusion.

As far as characters, I really like Evan and feel so sorry for him. He clearly needs psychological intervention, and, despite the depressing mood of much of the story, I liked the way Levithan concluded it. This is only my second Levithan book (the other was Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), and I am already a big fan of his unique writing style.

Readers should make a point to read the Acknowledgements pages at the end. Levithan describes how the story came to be and how he and Farmer worked to incorporate the photos. I think that may be the coolest "How My Book Came To Be" story I've ever heard.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: After reading, I do concur with the average rating. Despite Levithan's incredible writing style, the story itself isn't something I read compulsively. It is quiet, somber, and much of the story takes place within Evan's thoughts. I was curious about who was stalking leaving Evan the photos and messages, but once I found out who it was, I felt kind of let-down. The culprit's motives didn't really make sense to me; I didn't understand why that person would go to all that trouble.

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