Every You, Every Me
Written by David Levithan
Photographs by Jonathan Farmer
Number of Pages: 248
Average Rating: 3.41 / 5 stars
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Published: September 13, 2011
First Read in May 2013
Re-Read in May 2019
Summary According to Goodreads
In this high school-set psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs - some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him…messing with him…threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he’s been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan’s starting to believe it’s Ariel that’s behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself.
Creatively told with black-and-white photos interspersed between the text so the reader can see the photos that are so unnerving to Evan, Every You, Every Me is a one-of-a-kind departure from a one-of-a-kind author.
“Remember when you were happy? Well, it’s a lie.”
So I read this book exactly six years ago, and although my reading taste has matured substantially my rating for this stays the same. As many of you know I am an advocate for mental health representation, and I appreciate how this novel centres around an mental illness (specifics undisclosed), but from the perspectives of outside characters and not the sufferer.
Ariel is the friend of Evan and ex-boyfriend of Jack, and suffers from a mental illness. Both boys reminisce on times when she was completely elated and happy, and other moments when she is threatening suicide. This shared bond is the only thing that these boys have in common, and the novel explores the journey as they both come to terms with the role they have played in Ariel’s mental health. I think that it was refreshing to get these outside perspectives as it provides insight as to how a mental disorder can affect so many different people in someone’s life, and how many are quick to take some of the blame on themselves when things go wrong.
David Levithan will still continue to be one of my favourite young adult authors, and I look forward to his continuing works. I was very impressed when I read that this entire novel was inspired by photographs and each “chapter” or section was written based off of the next picture given to David by Jonathan Farmer one at a time. I think this was a very smart and interesting collaboration, and made for a much more interesting way of telling the story. The way that it was formatted and inclusion of the photographs also made for a very quick read, so if you are a fan of contemporaries surrounding mental illness I would recommend you pick this one up if you haven’t already.
A picture is truly worth a thousand words.