Double Book Review: Everyday and We Were Liars

Well, fall might be in full swing what with the cooler weather, the chunky sweaters that are starting to be pulled out of the closet again, and the pumpkin spice lattes, but today I am going to talk about Labor Day.

The end of the summer has been pretty hectic for me, and my blog has unfortunately gone on a bit of an impromptu hiatus, but I am glad to be back again and working on a more regular schedule. Anyway, my Labor Day weekend was great, filled with lots of good food, beach time, and relaxation in one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. Seriously, I would carry this thing around with me if I could. Many a good book was read and many a great nap was taken in this chair this summer.

My weekend started off with a three hour train ride, and a 20% off coupon at Barnes and Nobles, so I made a book stop on the way to work that Friday to get two books. I figured I didn’t have anything else planned for the train and I didn’t want to have a whole line up of tv shows to watch only to find out there was no wi-fi, so why not get some good reads.

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The first book I got was Everyday by David Levitan. I first saw this book at BEA in 2012 when I went with my NYU program, where it was being released as a galley. After reading the back of the book on its display board I got in the hugely long line to receive a signed copy, but not long after that we were told that they were out of copies. Boo.

So I swore to myself that I would get it in stores, but I didn’t see it for many months, and then when I did I was always getting other books, and I can be bad about reading all the books I buy if I buy more than one at a time. I didn’t want Everyday to be a book I bought on a binge and then never read, so never bought it. But then I did buy it and read it and it is amazing!

Everyday follows the story of A, a sixteen year old who wakes up every morning in someone else’s body, never the same one twice. Right off the bat I was interested in the story, since it is such a unique plot, and I really wanted to see how Levithan pulled this off. But one day A falls in love with a girl and everything changes.

That is pretty much the sappiest sounding recap, but it is a really great story. There is this person who has literally never had any kind of continuity in his life (A doesn’t really have a gender but I am going to say his for the sake of the review) until he meets Rhiannon. I found A to be a very convincing character despite (and because of) his unrealistic situation. He has literally experienced every type of sixteen year old – boy, girl, gay, straight, smart, dumb, jock etc. etc. etc. He has had all these different identities, but never experienced one of his own.

Levithan also does that thing where the author inserts overarching truths about life into the story. While these overarching truths can be well written, I have found that I can be a little wary of them sometimes, since it seems like the author is speaking beyond the character and it can take me out of the story a little bit. Either that or it can be cliched. All in all it can be a tricky thing to pull off. But I thought that Levitan succeeded with his little over arching truths, because of the broad range of experience A has had. Of course he would develop these beliefs about life, love, purpose etc. after everything that he has been through and all that he has seen. To me his observations were well done and on point.

Everyday can be a tricky story to talk about since it is so unconventional in its subject and the way it is plotted, but I really loved it, and if anyone else has read it and feels the way I do, or has different thoughts, please reply in the comment section below and we can continue the conversation. 🙂

The second book that I read over Labor Day Weekend, since Everyday took me about a day to read, was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – another really unique, addicting read. I had seen the book around in stores, and the more I saw it the more I figured I should give it a read.

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We Were Liars is about the Sinclairs, a prominent New England family, who spends their summers on a private island off the coast of Cape Cod near Martha’s Vineyard. Cadence Sinclair Easton and her cousins, the Liars, always spend their summers together on the island, each family with its own house, and its own problems. We Were Liars focuses on “Summer 15”, and what happened then as the patriarchy of the family begins to fall apart.

We Were Liars is another book that is hard to review. It reminded me of Gone Girl in a way in that either you know what is happening in the book or you are trying to piece it together, and there is a definitive moment in the story when that role switches from one to the other. So I don’t want to give too much away, but again I really recommend this book.

The setting of the island played a big role in the story, since that was always what brought the family together, and i thought Lockhart did a really good job of getting the feel of the island paradise down, but also the sense of claustrophobia that comes with it. After all it is just these four families living on the island together. There is also a definite dark streak that runs through the narrative. Lockhart has a very unique, poetic way of telling the story which really grabbed me as a reader, but also made me doubt how reliable Cadence was as a narrator.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much away again, but I really recommend this book as well. It was another 24 hour read for me, but it felt like it stayed with me much longer than that.

What did you all do over Labor Day weekend? Read any good books? Have any thoughts about these two? Let me know, and enjoy fall! I have yet to have a pumpkin spice latte – my theory is it can stay summer as long as I don’t get one, right? That’s definitely how it works…

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