A doesn’t have a normal name, a normal life, or a normal day…ever. Since birth, he has not spent more than a single day inhabiting any one body. He will wake up in the morning in a new town, in a new bed, in a new body, and he will spend the day living his life through the life of his host. His abnormal existence feels normal enough until the day he starts to fall deeply in love. A meets Rhiannon when he inhabits the body of her boyfriend, and even when midnight comes and he is torn from her town and her life, he can’t get her out of his head. For the first time in his life, he contacts her, confides in her, and takes great risks to stay connected to the girl he loves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this creative and heartfelt tale of a teen trying to find his (?) way in an extremely unusual existence. (Think “Freaky Friday” meets “Romeo and Juliet” meets…?) The daily shifting from person to person and life to life seems an appropriate metaphor for the work of a writer creating and inhabiting various characters as a matter of course. Writers not only inhabit their characters’ lives, they inspire them by breathing life into shapeless lumps of creative clay. Levithan uses this novel and its protagonist to present a variety of perspectives and experiences of life and of love. He does throw in a complication in the form of Reverend Poole, who informs A of others with his shifting sort of life. The sinister staging of this revelation introduces an element of fear which I found difficult to grasp. It seemed like the ending could set up a sequel, and I would certainly read it to learn more about the next phases of A’s life.