Every You, Every Me by David Levithan, photographs by Jonathan Farmer
Knopf Books for Young Readers, September 13, 2011
Summary from Goodreads:
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.OK, my admiration for David Levithan should go without saying--I mean, I followed him around at BEA and snapped a photo of the back of his head. But was too shy to actually say, you know, hello. He is the epitome of YA literature, for me, both as a writer and an editor. I feel that he can do no wrong.
And he hasn't done wrong with Every You, Every Me. I love the novelty of this collaboration--I've never seen or read anything quite like it. And notonly is the novel well, novel, but it's also a really, really good story. Evan's best friend Ariel is gone. Is she dead? Hospitalized? A runaway? We're not really sure. We're also not really sure why she's gone. Much of the novel is set in strike-through, which can make for difficult reading at times, but definitely lets the reader feel as though we're reading Evan's journal, or that we're even inside his head. I can absolutely picture Evan thinking something and then immediately striking that thought from his brain.
I loved Evan, too. We don't know that much about him, but we know Ariel was his everything. Because the story is told from his point of view, we don't know if he's telling the truth, or if he's lying. If he knows he's lying, or if he's suffering from mental problems. Is someone really after him? Could it be Ariel? I love that the mystery unfolds around the color (color!) photographs Jonathan Farmer provides. And I especially love how this story was created--definitely take a minute to read the author's note at the end of the story!
I think what I love most about David Levithan's work is that he has a gift for expressing the most natural ideas in such a brilliant, descriptive way. There were two, for me, in this novel. One was the title--you can't ever know the "every" of another person--and another one was the idea of "something" versus "anything"--that is, an anything is, well, anything, but a something is special. Both of these concepts are way simple and easy to understand, but they are expressed so beautifully in this novel.
Obviously, David Levithan fans will adore this novel, but people who enjoy contemporary fiction--with a hint of darkness and mystery--will love it, too!
Borrowed book from the library.
Enjoy your reading!