Another Day

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
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Thought-provoking, inventive teen romance with a twist.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Thought-provoking exploration of love and attraction with lots of open-ended questions: If you love the person inside, how important is his or her outer appearance? How important is gender? Why build a life as part of a couple? Why stay in a relationship? How do our bodies define us? Do we really have a "type," or can we get past that if the person is "great enough"?

Positive Messages

Don't get caught up in worrying if something will last; just enjoy it for the time it's here. Don't stand in someone else's shadow; stand where everyone can see you. We all make assumptions about others based on appearance; it may not be accurate, but it's a big part of how we define one another. Teens discuss racist and sexist implications of calling someone a "black bitch." Teens also discuss what makes someone "slutty."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rhiannon, 16, feels that she needs to live with the truth and tries to find it about herself and her relationships. She's always honest with A, her romantic interest who's about the same age, but she lies to her parents and boyfriend Justin about where she goes and whom she's with. In the beginning she's super insecure and spends most of her energy trying to keep things "right" with Justin, but she learns to value herself enough to know that she deserves to be on equal footing in a relationship. A has a high code of ethics and sticks to it despite temptation; he treats Rhiannon with love and respect. Rhiannon's parents are emotionally distant but provide a stable home environment.

Violence

One brief fight with hard punches and kicks; blood is mentioned. Cutting wrists is mentioned. A teen is suicidal; narrator Rhiannon remembers when she briefly and not very seriously thought about suicide.

Sex

Rhiannon and Justin have sex several times and are matter-of-fact about it; it's not described physically, but Rhiannon's emotions and thoughts during sex are detailed. A few instances of intense kissing with some caressing and groping. One make-out session includes a vague mention of orgasm. 

Language

Frequent strong language, most often "f--k," "s--t," and variations. "Asshole," "bitch," "Jesus" as an exclamation; "slut" and "whore" less frequent but occur multiple times each. "Going down on," "screwing" mentioned.

Consumerism

Rare mention of restaurant chains, musical acts, tech products, and soda brands. Corona mentioned once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens frequently drink alcohol to excess at parties, but narrator Rhiannon is a reliable designated driver. Speculation once about "getting baked" at a party. Two or three mentions that Justin smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Another Day is David Levithan's companion book to his bestselling Every DayMany of the same issues surrounding identity, gender, love, and attraction are explored from a different perspective -- main character Rhiannon's -- and you don't have to have read Every Day to enjoy and learn a lot from this teen romance with a twist. Older teens frequently drink to excess, although the narrator Rhiannon is a good role model when it comes to alcohol. The teens also frequently use profanity such as "s--t" and "f--k." There are two or three emotionally intense kissing and make-out events. Less intense are a couple of times Rhiannon and Justin have sex; her detached emotions are described in detail, but physical actions aren't. Teen suicide and cutting wrists are mentioned, and there are a couple of good discussions among the teens about racism, sexism, and why and when girls are seen as "slutty."

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What's the story?

Rhiannon, 16, has an incredible day at the beach with her boyfriend Justin. They've never been as close, and it's finally given her the confidence that they have something worth keeping, despite all their problems. Soon she meets another boy, Nathan, with whom she feels an almost identical connection to the one she felt with Justin on that really good day. Then she starts feeling that connection with other random new people she meets. The truth about why and how she's feeling the same connection to different people will cause her to question the meaning of love, attraction, relationships, gender, and even her perception of her own body and how physical traits define us. Meanwhile, she starts to fall for someone else and has to figure out how or whether to break up with Justin to pursue a love she's not even sure is possible.

Is it any good?

David Levithan has created a thought-provoking and utterly believable teen romance by turning the events of the bestselling Every Day inside out and upside down. The premise is simplicity itself: telling the events of his earlier novel from Rhiannon's perspective. But the achievement is much more elegant than that. The novel both stands firmly on its own and is a perfect companion to the first installment.

As we've come to expect, his character's voice is rock solid and compelling and guides the reader through an exploration of love, attraction, identity, gender, and our relationships with our own and others' bodies. The fantastical element is so firmly grounded in the book's reality that teen readers will ask themselves, as Rhiannon frequently does, "If this is possible, what else is possible?"

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this is a companion book or a sequel. What's the difference? Why do you think David Levithan wrote this book?

  • Rhiannon wonders if she can be open to A, who's not her "type," because their emotional connection is always strong. Do you think you could be open to at least getting to know someone who isn't your type?

  • Early on, Rhiannon says that "if happiness feels real, it almost doesn't matter if it's real or not." What does she mean? Do you agree?

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