Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan and Jonathan Farmer

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Shel and Bel will roll their eyes at me when I make this comparison but really, in my Killers muddled brain, it’s the best comparison I can come up with.

Have you ever heard the song Tranquilize by The Killers? If not, watch the video below. Relax. I am not asking you to like it. I just want you to listen. Notice how the song sounds a little edgy in the beginning. Then it builds up to a frenzied paranoia that is frightening and almost out of control. Then all of a sudden it ends with a tired sense of relief.

That right there is the emotional journey that David Levithan takes you on in Every You, Every Me.

Every You, Every Me is a novel told with words and photographs. David Levithan, of course, providing the words and Jonathon Farmer providing the photographs. Evan feels responsible for what happened to his best and only friend, Ariel. On his way to school, Evan finds a photo of the exact spot where he is standing. The next day he finds another picture in the same spot. A picture of himself. He doesn’t know where the pictures are coming from but their continued appearance sends him on a downward spiral of depression and paranoia which makes the reader wonder if the photos are responsible for his paranoia or his paranoia is responsible for the pictures.

I have wanted to read a David Levithan book for a while now. When we had the chance to meet him at a YA panel hosted by our favorite Indie Bookstore, I took the opportunity to buy this book. I wasn’t disappointed. The first chapter had me in tears. The rest of the book had me on the edge of my seat. The story is told in first person, from Evan’s point of view. The most interesting part was that the point of view included all of Evan’s unfiltered thoughts which were then filtered through with strikethroughs. For example:

Now it was a year later. I wished you a happy birthday. That word again. Happy. It’s a curse. The pursuit of happiness makes us deeply unhappy. It’s a trap.

This technique was an excellent way to help the reader understand Evan’s state of mind, which, you may have guessed, is not exactly stable.

The photographs were a wonderful touch to the story. All the photos highlight the reason for his paranoia and keep the reader guessing as to what is really happening.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good psychological thriller.


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