Book Review – ‘Another Day’ (#2 Every Day) by David Levithan

Same story – just a switch in perspective.

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, LGBT

No. of pages: 327

From Goodreads:

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person…wasn’t Justin at all.

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While I revelled in Levithan’s great writing – there wasn’t much else to this novel after reading ‘Every Day,’Another Day’ a companion novel recounting the events from the debut of this series told from Rhiannon’s perspective only added tiny glimpses of new information to the storyline. It did not, however introduce new plot points, new characters or add something new to the ending.

I found myself skimming over the dialogue as it is exactly the same as that from ‘Every Day.’ I was really hoping Levithan was going to do something new, enrich the tale of A and Rhiannon, but it was all predictable, re-hashed and flat.

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

I was still able to consume it in a day, love Levithan’s writing style, the themes of identity, gender, and humanity that were explored; but really, this felt like when you re-watch a movie with the Actor/Producer comments option on… it’s all the same, but just a little bit of extra padding. And it can either bore you and tarnish that first experience, or allow you to relive the splendour of your first time reading.

I am looking forward to ‘Someday’ the third book in the series (which I now have in my possession;) there were so many elements that were set up and not resolved, and I am anxious to see where it all leads. What is the mythology behind A’s condition? Are there others like A out there? How do they live/function in society? Is there the possibility of A remaining in one body? Do A and Rhiannon have a chance at a future together? Will we see Nathan Daldry play a part in this new instalment? What new aspects of identity and the human spirit will ‘Someday’ explore…. so many questions. So there is a lot to look forward to.

I’d only recommend ‘Another Day’ to die-hard fans of ‘Every Day,’ and maybe don’t marathon them, as it gets very repetitive. Otherwise, read the debut, and skip the second book and jump straight into ‘Someday’ you’ll probably enjoy the story much more (and won’t miss anything.) Or if you want a refresher on ‘Every Day’ before jumping into ‘Someday,’ then this could be a great way to do that.

Overall feeling: Argh! Not what I was expecting.

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Film vs Novel – Every Day

Every Day Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgThe book by David Levithan consumed me. I read it in one sitting, totally engrossed in the condition of the human soul and its ability to love. I was really excited to hear a movie was coming out, and when I finally got to see it, while not disappointed, though felt the tone and narrative had moved away from the text.

The spirit of protagonist A goes beyond gender and sexual identity and into a space of simply ‘being.’ An exercise in gender fluidity. It was such an amazing perspective on existence. Juxatpose that with the love interest, Rhiannon’s perception and interactions with A, and her gradual understanding and acceptance of A, and their humanity, and you end up with a universal attitude of love and acceptance of everyone. It was truly inspired. This theme rings true in the novel, however in the film version we don’t get the insights and expansion of A’s experiences and it loses a lot of soul and context of the narrative. Additionally Rhiannon spent a larger portion of the movies length struggling and coming to terms with A. So many cuts had to be made to get this novel to fit into an acceptable length for a movie, we miss much of the characters struggles and development. But the cuteness and romance are still front and centre, as is the sci-fi/paranormal element of A inhabiting different bodies every day.

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On the reverse side, being A was weird. Always the interloper, unsure of your very existence. It’s a hard place to be. Alone and transient. Enough to send you completely bonkers. But A finds a way to balance it all – A’s own desires and wishes without impacting the lives of the bodies that are being borrowed for the day. The novel delves into this a lot, where the film mentions it in passing a number of times, and it’s not really discussed until close to the end when religious zealots Nathan (a body A previously inhabited) and his father Reverend Poole challenge A. (Thinking A a demon.) But both novel and film end the story on a big question mark.

Every Day Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

I loved the tone of zero prejudice about the physical being and of identity. I loved getting to walk, if somewhat briefly, in so many other people’s lives and feel that impact. The novel explores so many aspects, where in the movie much of it is reduced to a montage. I think that was the biggest let down for me. We lose all context of the connection and struggle between the characters and the tension that is slowly building throughout the plot.

While we only get the tiniest hint of the mythology behind A and his existence, the rest of the novel feels like a social commentary on identity and how we treat each other. How we are all different, yet the same. I wanted to get involved more into the reasons why A was the way he was – a wandering soul. I was hoping that in the sequel ‘Another Day’ I’d get more answers, but alas, only another brief touch on the mythology. I have my fingers crossed that we can really sink our teeth into the paranormal or science fiction of it all in the third book of the series ‘Someday’ due out on the 2nd of October this year. Not long to wait now! There is no news of a ‘Someday’ film as yet… and we may not see it given the performance of ‘Every Day’ at the box office. The themes weren’t fully explored and the social commentary on gender fluidity was not strong enough for audiences to pick up – at it still may be a confronting and confusing topic for the population of general movie goers. Maybe if there was more action and exploration of ‘soul-jumping’ it would appeal to a wider audience. I guess only time will tell.

There’s not much to say about this novel. It’s a romance, a character study with a heavy dose of philosophy. I loved it. The concept so fresh in YA! Unfortunately, for me the film fell much flatter than the novel. Still a fun romp and light escapism, but ultimately not quite there.

The book is a beautiful quick read that I highly recommend. The movie does not do it justice, but is still great viewing – though it concentrates more on the romance than of the theme – what is a soul and what makes us human.

Every Day Film vs Novel Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Entanglement’ by Dan Rix

Great science – awful characters

Entanglement Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 324

From Goodreads:

In a world like ours, humans are born in pairs. When a newborn boy takes his first breath in the coastal town of Tularosa, the exact time is noted, recorded in the Registry, and later compared to the birth times of other newborns around the globe. There will be one identical match—his half. They will meet on their eighteenth birthday and they will spend their lives together. Except this time, there is no match.

Hotheaded heartthrob Aaron Harper is scheduled to meet his half in twenty-nine days, and he doesn’t buy a word of that entanglement crap. So what if he and his half were born the same day and share a spooky psychic connection? Big deal. After breaking one too many teenage girls’ hearts, he’ll stick to brawling with the douchebag rugby players any day.

Until the day a new girl arrives at school and threatens everything he takes for granted.

Cold and unapproachable, Amber Lilian hates the growing list of similarities between her and the one boy she can’t read, Aaron: born the same day, both stubborn, both terrified of meeting their halves. . . . All the more reason not to trust him. That she would rather die than surrender herself as her half’s property is none of his damn business. But once lost in Aaron’s dangerous, jet black eyes, she’s already surrendered more than she cares to admit.

Tangled in each other’s self-destructive lives, Aaron and Amber learn the secret behind their linked births and why they feel like halves—but unless they can prove it before they turn eighteen, Aaron faces a lifetime alone in a world where everyone else has a soul mate . . . and he’ll have to watch Amber give herself to a boy who intends to possess not only her body but also a chunk of her soul. 

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Entanglement’ sounded right up my alley, a fun dystopian world with a mythology deeply seated in fringe sciences, but it didn’t quite live up to my hopes. There were so many stereotypes and tropes in this novel, I just about gagged. The mad scientist, the jock with a supposed heart of gold, the woman-abusing bad boy, the hot bitchy girl who feels like she is not worthy of love… need I go on.

Talk about dysfunctional, abusive relationships. I don’t think there was a healthy one in this novel whatsoever. I wanted to put the book down so many times because it was making me sick. The violence, subservitude… not the best read I’ve had this year.

Entanglement Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleThe protagonist Amber was self-destructive and always playing games – so not cute. In fact, I had no love for her at all. Her love interest, Aaron was just as bad – I’m not sure what he was playing at, other than going after something he knew he couldn’t have.

Dan Rix does write great actions scenes and can build tension expertly. I was really intrigued about the mythology of this novel and would have like to learn more about the universe of ‘halfs.’

I think if the first half was condensed and edited heavily to remove the self-destructive behaviour, this would have been fantastic. Much more palatable, and the romance much more believable.

I really liked the second half of the book once I got over myself and ignored all of the violence. I’ve become a big fan of Dan Rix, he comes up with some great concepts, can really write an explosive build up and story climax. He also weaves angst like a pro… but I wish half of the characters weren’t such great big a-holes. Seriously, just about all of his main characters are smart arses.

I think this was his first published novel – and judging from the number on the spine, I’m guessing he had the intention of it becoming a series. But five years on, another 20 novels released and no sign of a sequel. He must have lost interest. I don’t know if I’d recommend this one – it’s an okay read, and the science behind the story is well worth putting up with all the other issues I had with ‘Entanglement,’ but with such troubling relations between characters, I wouldn’t want any young adult thinking it is cool or okay to treat others like that.

Overall feeling: looove the good bits – loathe the nasty ones. Argh! Such a love-hate relationship I have with this!

Entanglement Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Entanglement Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Unwind

Unwind Book Review by Casey Carlisle From Goodreads:

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

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The first ten chapters dragged a little for me, but from that point onward the plot twists and action kept my attention until the end. A unique world of justifiable and forced organ donation for children is a fantastic premise and I enjoyed Neal Shusterman’s dystopian landscape.

I was a little torn in regards to the switching points of view between Connor, Risa and Lev; solely because at times it was difficult to discern the difference as the style of writing remained the similar. However, their differing experiences did drive the story forward.

The maturity of the characters felt a little unrealistic at times, especially towards the end their newly formed community. I loved how they addressed element of identity and evidence of a soul, and a person’s essence living on after being unwound.

The only thing stopping me from giving a higher recommendation is the pacing, and I felt Shusterman neglected to take opportunity to explore some of the more darker, controversial elements of the world fully. (Maybe it will be addressed in the following novels in the series?) That, and I’m not a big fan of changing P.O.V’s unless adding credence the storyline and the styles are discernibly different.

But it is definitely a fascinating read. The main cast are uniquely strong and all go through separate journeys, growing in unexpected ways. The character arcs were unexpected, though the overall premise of the book is a little predictable.

The story is compelling and I’d definitely recommend it. I felt a little let down in the build and connection to the main characters with one another – although they became closer in light of their shared experiences, they were dealt with in isolation of each other, and didn’t have me rooting for them as a ‘ship than if some stronger emotion and angst were introduced  earlier.

I will definitely be picking up the following book in the series ‘UnWholly’ to continue with Connor, Risa and Lev’s story.

Unwind Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

   Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.