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Someday

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Someday Book Poster Image
Third novel digs deeper into themes of equality, morality.

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

Educational Value

Like other two novels in this series, it encourages readers to consider thoughtfully issues of gender identity, sexual orientation, and nature of romantic love. Also addresses human rights issues at the time of the novel, as characters join an Equality March on Washington for LGBTQ rights.  

Positive Messages

In the world of Rhiannon and A, love doesn't know gender, race, class, or even the physical self. Love thrives on intimacy, understanding, and common purpose. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

A struggles with the moral implications of his very existence, inhabiting other people's bodies. He also feels unsure about how to do right by Rhiannon -- whether she's better off without him -- and how to protect his friends from harm. Ultimately, A and his friends bravely risk their own safety to rescue another teen.

Violence

While A is inhabiting the body of a bullied teen named Moses, the boy is beaten mercilessly by classmates and taken to the hospital. Another character, X, hurts others with the bodies he inhabits: He restrains a girlfriend by turning her arm behind her back and terrifies the girl. He threatens Rhiannon's friend Nathan with a knife and strikes Nathan with a baseball bat, injuring the boy's knee. These violent incidents are all part of the struggle between good and evil that pervades the novel.

Sex

Teen couples kiss. X says that he wants to be an object of "carnal attention," and other characters make references to sex, but there are no graphic sex scenes in this third book.

Language

Profanity is used by unkind characters -- not so much by the likable main characters such as Rhiannon, A, and Nathan. Curse words and variations that appear once or twice each are "dumbass" and "dumbassery," "pissed," "f--k," and "f--kery."

Consumerism

Coca Cola, Burger King mentioned.  

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that David Levithan's Someday is the author's third novel about real-life high school girl Rhiannon and the character called A, who wakes every morning in the body of a different teen. As in the previous books, Every Day and Another Day, the nature of this premise raises -- or rather erases -- questions about the importance of gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical appearance. Likewise, race, class, and nationality are rendered almost meaningless. What matters is the love between individuals who support and understand each other. This novel includes a little profanity (including "f--k" once or twice), teens kissing, and a couple of references to sex, though there's no graphic sexual activity in the book. There's some violence: A teen boy is bullied and beaten badly, and another boy is threatened with a knife and later struck in the knee with a baseball bat. The bodiless character X brags about his power to commit murder. One character is told he was possessed by the devil, and though readers know this is false, the power struggle between good and bad in the world of the novel may read like a struggle for the boy's soul.

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What's the story?

SOMEDAY, David Levithan's third novel about a real girl named Rhiannon and a bodiless person called A, picks up where the other two books, Every Day and Another Day, left off. Though she's romantically involved with an artistic, easygoing boy named Alexander, Rhiannon misses A and wishes she could be with A. Meanwhile, though A has relocated to another part of the United States, feeling that Rhiannon is better off without him, A feels pulled back by love for Rhiannon as well as a commitment to protect her and her friends from another bodiless person who seems to be dangerous. Rhiannon and A must decide if there's a way to move their strange relationship forward, and what they're willing to risk in the name of what's right.

Is it any good?

Once again, David Levithan has created a fascinating world inhabited by bodiless people as well as humans, and he's upped the ante for Rhiannon and A with an epic moral struggle. Levithan has a remarkable talent for drawing teen characters, and for elegantly raising personal and topical issues without hitting his readers over the head with them. Someday doesn't stand on its own quite as well as Another Day does, but readers who enjoyed Every Day and Another Day will certainly want to follow the story of this couple and the other endearing bodiless and human teens that populate the novel.

There's just one little flaw that teen readers and their parents will likely notice: In the world of this book, teens' main social media platform is still Facebook. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the latest developments in the relationship between Rhiannon and A. Have they found the right way to be together? Can they have a future together?

  • A has complicated feelings about X, though their friends with human bodies see a clear line between good and bad. How would you judge these characters?

  • The teens in this novel, and some parents, are enthusiastic about participating in the Equality March for LGBTQ rights. What cause is meaningful to you? What is the purpose of peaceful protest?

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