4 out of 5 stars for the first one, 2 out of 5 stars for the second
I received an ARC of Another Day
Every day features a person named A who, every day, wakes up in a different body. He takes control of a person’s body and lives their life until midnight, when he is transported into another body to repeat the process. Age seems to matter, and the bodies tend to be clustered together geographically, but other than that there are no rules as to whom he will wake up as next. A has always been careful to disrupt the lives of those he inhabits as little as possible, until he meets Rhiannon while inhabiting her boyfriend Justin. Now he is willing to do just about anything to spend time with her, but one boy remembers too much about his body being kidnapped for a day and starts making waves with a story about demonic possession.
I really adored this first book. A is a very sympathetic character (I am just going to use the male pronoun for A from now on since english does not really have a good set of genderless pronouns for people), trying to balance his needs with the needs of his host body and trying to figure out what kind of thing he is and the rules that govern his life. He is immune to almost any prejudice because he has been in just about every life circumstance and he gets into quite a bit of trouble trying to physically get to where Rhiannon is in a variety of bodies. Sometimes he is sick, unable to drive, living with parents who won’t let him leave, or unable to speak english. We get to see the world through multiple lenses while having the same trusty narrator accompany us through the story.
I think the part I enjoyed most was just A and Rhiannon trying to work out how a relationship can practically work if one person keeps switching bodies and locations. Sometimes Rhiannon will be further away, and sometimes she will be more or less attracted to A’s current body. Every day A spends with her is a day that interrupts the normal life for the person whose body he is inhabiting. They can never wake up together and any future children will end up being completely confused for a long while.
This book has a great anti-bullying message and I really enjoyed reading it, despite all of the focus on relationships. It had enough other stuff going on, like the body switching and figuring out what to do about the boy who is convinced he was possessed by a demon, to keep me hooked.
The companion book I did not enjoy nearly as much. This one is told from Rhiannon’s POV, and most of it is trying to decide whether to dump her boyfriend Justin for A. My main problem was that it did not have nearly enough new content to justify an entirely new book. Most of the dialogue is directly taken from the first book, as are most of the scenes. The new content is Rhiannon spending time with Justin and trying to justify her relationship with him, despite everyone (including me) thinking he is a complete loser.
What made Rhiannon’s relationship with Justin more interesting in the first book is that, since we were missing all of their alone time, it was still possible he was an awesome guy, just when nobody but Rhiannon can see it. There was still a tiny possibility that Rhiannon had a difficult choice in front of her and wasn’t just completely lacking in all self-respect by dating someone that actually treated her terribly all the time. It turns out that Justin is just as bad in person and Rhiannon just has no idea how normal relationships are supposed to work (or she just lacks any spine). I immediately started disliking her for being such a disgusting pushover and trying constantly to justify a relationship that, while not straight up abusive, is clearly not good or healthy. I want a protagonist who is willing to leave a relationship that is not working for her, not stick around because she thinks the person needs help or will change.
Rhiannon does not have much of a personality, and since the book was missing the body-switching that made the first one so cool, I really did not get anything new from it besides a severe dislike of a character I had been more or less cool with before. This book does not have enough new information to justify an entire novel. Nothing earth shattering is revealed and it is missing all of the interesting elements from the first book.
In conclusion. Please read the first one, it is amazing, but I will not blame you if you give the second one a pass.