Lately, I have read a few books that have something unique in common–unconventional narrators, with unfamiliar bodies. In Blackbird, it’s a girl who doesn’t remember who she is, in Every Day its a narrator who wakes up in a different body each morning, and in The Body Electric it’s a girl who realizes that somebody has altered her memory. So, I decided to combine my thoughts on all these novels together for today’s Book Whimsy!
I actually made it through a chunk of Blackbird by Anna Carey* before putting the book down and ignoring it for several months, because the truth is it just didn’t capture my attention. A big part of that is due to the narrator, as the story is told in second person and given that “you” doesn’t know anything about herself, other than the blackbird inside a box and string of numbers and letters tattooed on her wrist, it’s hard to form an emotional connection with somebody whose biggest defining feature is the fact that people are trying to kill her.
When I picked up Blackbird again to finish it off, my biggest incentive was the fact that it was a short book and there was some element of mystery to it. That said, although I managed to finish it, it’s not one I would recommend as the storyline becomes quite over-the-top in a lot of ways, almost like a thriller trying too hard to be intense without quite succeeding. There’s also a friendship with a boy that feels too easy and sudden to be genuine. Finally, Blackbird itself is the first of a duology, and it leaves way too many questions for book two, Deadfall, which will be released in 2015.
David Levithan has written some incredible books, but although he has unique concepts, his books don’t always connect with me however I am always interested in reading them. So although Every Day by David Levithan* had my attention from the moment I heard about it, it took me awhile (two years, apparently) to finally pick it up and read the story of A, a teenager who wakes up in a different body, with a different life, every day. A is used to it, but then A spends one day in the body of Justin and forms an instant connection with his girlfriend, Rhiannon, and after a lifetime of being used to change, all A wants is to see Rhiannon, every day.
I really love both the underlying premise of Every Day–a love that defies gender, or body–as well as the way that Levithan brilliantly executes it. The novel itself isn’t flawless, and perhaps A’s connection to Rhiannon happens to quickly and at times the connection even gets a bit too obsessive, but in the end I believed it. I believed the painful and beautiful story, and even if it seemed to be impossible from the start, I wanted A and Rhiannon to be together. Levithan definitely tells a complicated and unique love story.
The last book I read from Beth Revis was her debut novel, Across the Universe, several years ago, and it was a young adult murder mystery told aboard a spaceship that I actually really liked. I don’t have a real excuse for not finishing that trilogy, it’s something I still plan to do, but in the meantime I somehow picked up her latest release instead. The Body Electric by Beth Revis* is the story of Ella Shepard, a girl whose father was killed by terrorists and mother is dying, and who discovers that somebody may have altered her own memories.
Although my copy of The Body Electric was an ebook, this novel is listed as being 482 pages, and it does not feel that way at all! It is thrilling and fun and well-written and intense. Ella has the ability to enter peoples minds (using technology), but it turns out the one mind she cannot trust may be her own. Revis’ writing flows easily and is full of action, so although I don’t generally read a lot of science fiction, she definitely keeps me interested in it. I was less committed to the romantic subplot, and the story itself could be quite predictable and rely on some too convenient incidences, but The Body Electric is a very approachable and enjoyable book that easily reminds me why I liked Revis’ writing in the first place–and why I should definitely finish her other books!