David Levithan is one of my go-to authors, and thus far he has failed to disappoint. Unfortunately, his usual combination of wit and wordsmith was nowhere to be seen in Every You, Every Me, and I was left trying to grasp at shades of the author I usually love.
Levithan admits that this book was a concept work, a project of prose centered around
photographs that were sent to him at various stages of the story progression. While Levithan might have been enamored of his idea, it didn’t play out as seamlessly as he obviously hoped. The novel is rife with problems, not the least of which is the fact that it is always painfully obvious that Levithan himself had no idea where the story was going and was constantly at the mercy of the photographer, whose photos might have been intriguing in the context of a less melodramatic storyline, but in this story fell as flat as the pages they were printed on. I’ll concede that, as I read an unfinished ARC, the pictures were in black and white whereas they apparently appeared in color in the finished edition. I doubt this would have helped the listless, meandering storyline, though, as Levithan’s writing persistently reminded me of the writing exercises we used to undertake in middle school where we would ghost author a story for an elementary school student. I could feel Levithan looking up at me throughout the story at each new revelation, his face pleading me to say what a good job he was doing.
I don’t write these criticisms lightly; I’m not in the business of bashing my favorite authors, and take no pleasure in doing so now. I merely hope that by alerting him to the errors of his attempt he will avoid making the same mistakes in the future, for I still eagerly anticipate reading his next release.