Book Review – Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

Hello everyone,

I hope you are enjoying my book reviews. Here is another one for you.

Levithan, David. Every You, Every Me. Alfred A. Knopf. 2011. 248 p. 0375854517.

Genre: Fiction/ Mystery

Summary/ Analysis:

Every You, Every Me tells the story of a boy named Evan who is grieving the loss of his best friend, Ariel. One day, he finds a photograph of scenery left for him on his porch. It’s a picture of a bunch of trees next to his house. Another day, he finds another photograph, somewhat closer. This goes on until he finds a photograph of himself and realizes that someone is stalking him. And then he finds a picture of Ariel that he’s never seen before. Evan believes that this someone just playing a sick joke on him and then starts to believe that it’s Ariel who is leaving these photographs. But Ariel is dead. As more photographs appear to him and to Ariel’s ex-boyfriend, Jack, the more Evan begins to lose sense of reality and goes back to the day she died, where there is only guilt to be felt. Both Evan and Jack set out to find the photographer but the more they get closer, the more Evan slips from the real world and into his guilt-ridden mind.

This novel is told through Evan’s narrative and actual photos that present what the characters look like. Some people might not like this aspect since it leaves little to the imagination but for me, it was helpful in putting a name to a face and it allowed my imagination to take hold of these pictures as I tried to figure out where these photographs would take Evan and why they were so important to him. Other figures appear in the photographs who Evan and Jack do not recognize and this adds to the mystery. Right from the first page of the novel, you can tell that it’s already written in a unique way, other than the photographs. Levithan decided to create an internal monologue for Evan which is stroked through. For example: “And then there was last year. You went out with Jack at night, but I at least had you for the afternoon. I asked you what you wanted and you said you didn’t want anything.” (pg. 2). I thought it interesting how he decided to reveal Evan’s guilt and emotions he has behind Ariel’s death and their friendship through these “sylloquies”. Right from the first page, these thoughts become clear to the reader and they are able to get into Evan’s mindset easily. Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where you’re completely caught up in the character’s train of thought/ emotions? And if they were losing their mind, you felt the same? This is how I felt while reading this novel. Levithan did a great job in pacing the mystery and this novel was filled with uncertainty as you could not predict what would happen next. I think for me, I just got caught up in Evan’s obsession with Ariel which reminded me of the photographer’s obsession with Evan. And lastly, I enjoyed how the photos themselves were mysteries of their own. How a photo is a moment in time; Evan actually talks about this, saying how photos can never take you back to that moment but it is a souvenir from that moment in time.

Teaching Ideas: 

I think this would make a fun project to do with my class where they go out and take pictures of their own lives and try to construct a story out of it. I think I would limit the number of photographs they could take as the same number of photographs that are in the novel. And would challenge them to take photographs of different things they see in their daily life or something they don’t normally see, if it was a unique sighting of their day. Anything. Fun fact: the photographer of this novel, Jonathan Farmer gave Levithan photos one-by-one and Levithan created this novel based on the photos he gave him. I would have them do individual reading outside of class but we would discuss the novel in class. I would write down their predictions as we went along to see if any students were correct at the end of the novel.

Rating: 8.5/10

My next book review will be on….Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Teen romance again~ We’ll see if it got a better review than If I Stay.

I also wanted to share some of the photographs that Jonathan Farmer took in the novel, these are some of my favorites:

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*The picture of the boy on the book cover is a photo of Evan, that’s probably my favorite photo.

Thank you for reading!

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