I’ve picked up this audiobook just after I’ve seen the movie. And even though I’ve seen the movie and I knew what was going to happen, I was still surprised by how well the book came across and how many other things were described that weren’t in the movie (dooh!).
The book is about a body “thief” called A who wakes up every day in a different body. In one of his “incarnations”, he meets Rhianna and he falls madly in love with her even through she had a boyfriend for over a year. A thinks that Rhianna deserves better and tries his best to make her see how much of an ass Justin is and tries to go and see her every-time he can.
Through A and Rhianna, the author explores issues as gender identity and the nature of love. Through A’s “jumps”, we get to know different teenagers, their lives and some of the issues they face on a daily basis: siblings, too much money, too little money, uninvolved parents, suicidal teens, drunk teens, happy teens and teens of all shapes and sizes.
As the relationship with Rhianna advances, she points out the issues with their current set-up. She’s always the same while A comes to her as different people and with each and every one of them, Rhianna reveals a shallow look on life. She can’t get over the surface and she can’t always see the inside. I do agree with the concept that it’s what’s on the inside that matters but sometimes, the outside can be off-putting enough to make it nearly impossible to see the inside. They decide to split up and A becomes extremely lonely as he/she feels that there’s no-one in this world that they can be their real selves with.
“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.”
He possibly likes the idea of being in love and having someone to talk to a lot more than actually being in love.
“The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.”
There are a few rules for “A”. “A” switches bodies every day. He is never the same person twice. At midnight he leaves the body he is in and wakes up in a new one. He can access their memories and no one is ever aware he was there. He tries not to interfere or get too attached to anyone knowing he is only there for one day. Upon leaving, he can fabricate some memories that the person he inhabited can refer to when asked about their past day.
A has no gender. It’s a He/She depending on body and he loves without restrictions whoever is near them. “A” has had both boyfriends and girlfriends and his only constant crush is Rhianna, whom he meets while inhabiting Justin, Rihanna’s boyfriend.
While we only get the tiniest hint of the mythology behind A and his existence, the rest of the novel feels like a social commentary on identity and how we treat each other. How we are all different, yet the same.
People are rarely as attractive in reality as they are in the eyes of the people who are in love with them. Which is, I suppose, as it should be.
What I liked about the book
A’s life was pretty diverse. And as opposed to the movie, he jumps between teenager bodies over a large distance – sometimes spending 2-4h driving to get back to Rhianna. Rhianna seemed like a cool chick in the movie but in the book she’s the one pulling the stops. She seems to be quiet when A visits her but she’s pretty talkative when she goes and visits him. She does not see how her two sections of her life could ever merge so she tries to keep A separate. She’s also not keen on kissing a girl or a very fat guy making me think that either she cares about appearance a lot or she is put off by different appearances. She’s pretty much hetero while A is fluid as you can get so I thought it was a bit odd of “A” to try and push Rhianna to be more kissy-kissy when she obviously wasn’t into the person A was inhibiting.
The book does make you think – would you do it? Would you be with a person who hasn’t got the same face or name two days in a row? Who comes from a different background and has different families? It does come across as very liberal and preaches a strong message of acceptance so that’s why it’s a B+
What I didn’t like about the book
There’s a strong religious sub-plot where A is compared to the devil as he’s possessing bodies and if he lacked the moral code he could probably do some real damage to the person he’s inhabiting. He would be able to commit a murder and get away with it as he wouldn’t be in the same body the next day so the murder would fall on the body he was in.
“A” also does his best to try and break up Justin and Rhianna. When he’s in the body of a gorgeous chick, she makes a pass at Justin while Rhianna is in the bathroom to prove that Justin does not love her. Justin does block her advances and walks off. Besides taking Rhianna for granted, Justin didn’t do too many bad things to warrant “A” trying to get him out of Rhianna’s life so him constantly hitting on another guy’s girl is bit of a jerk move.
“You like him because he’s a lost boy. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen before. But do you know what happens to girls who love lost boys? They become lost themselves. Without fail.”
“There are many things that can keep you in a relationship,” I say. “Fear of being alone. Fear of disrupting the arrangement of your life. A decision to settle for something that’s okay, because you don’t know if you can get any better. Or maybe there’s the irrational belief that it will get better, even if you know he won’t change.”
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Ember; 1 edition (September 10, 2013)
- Age Range: 12 and up
Book has a sequel called ‘Another Day’ and another one called “Someday” which were released a few years back. I’m going to read them sometimes this year, but for now, this book has covered me with teen angst enough to make me go look for a horror.
PS: What I didn’t actually understand was how could “A” keep his attraction to Rhianna going as the chemicals related to love are based on hormones which get released into the body and “A”‘s body was never the same two days in a row. Hey, maybe it was only psychological attraction.
“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”