“Every You, Every Me” wasn’t the first David Levithan book I’ve ever read, and it surely won’t be the last. However, I can’t walk away from it saying that it was my favorite.
“Every You, Every Me” tells the story of a teenager named Evan. One day, Evan starts mysteriously getting photographs dropped off in random places — just for him. First it’s a photo of the clearing where he’s standing; the next photo is of him, and so on. As he tries to discover who’s behind the project – and what the connection could possibly be to his best friend Ariel – it gets more and more intense. Soon it takes a harsh toll on Evan, and he starts to just…. fall apart.
I picked this book up primarily because I like some of Levithan’s works, but this one felt a little off. There were a few things that I, as a reader, didn’t pick up on right away, which made reading this a little more confusing.
For instance, there were multiple references to Ariel being gone, but it’s not specified what exactly happened right away; for a portion of the book, I thought she was dead, which made things a lot more confusing – how could Evan possibly think she was connected to the photographs if she was dead? Of course, we find out what really happened, but… still.
In addition, the mystery behind what exactly Evan and Jack did to Ariel was underwhelming when revealed. It’s not like I wish they’d done something worse, but the way it was portrayed, you think that these guys are really, actually horrible people who did something beyond imagination (rape, murder, etc.)
Evan’s attachment to Ariel was initially understandable, but as the book went on, it got to be more of a creepy obsession as he really thought it was her, haunting and tormenting him. (Also, the whole unrequited love thing is… meh. Yawn.)
All throughout the book, I wanted to tear Evan out of the pages. I wanted to pull him up by his shirt and yell at him “What in the world are you doing? Don’t you realize how dangerous this could be? Someone is STALKING you, taking photos of you without your permission & making it a game. If that doesn’t sound like a serial killer in wait, I don’t know what does. GIVE IT UP. STOP BEFORE YOU GET HURT, OR KILLED, OR WHATEVER. JUST STOP.” But alas — regardless of my pleas, he kept going.
In the end, I just wasn’t satisfied with the way this book culminated. It was a mystery that slowly unraveled, at times messy (as mysteries can be, I suppose) but the ending just wasn’t quite what I expected.
One really good thing that I did take away from this book, however, is related to the title. We can’t possibly ever know every part of another person, just as they can’t possibly know every part of us. Even if we allow others into our lives and share things with them, there can always be another side to a person; another story they have to tell, a secret they’ve kept, thoughts they don’t share, etc. Even as we share ourselves with one another, there can always still be that little part that we tuck away.
Other Levithan books I’ve read (and would recommend): Are We There Yet, How They Met and Other Stories, The Realm of Possibility, Boy Meets Boy and Every Day.