Despite having a negative experience to Cecelia Ahern’s writing in P.S. I Love You, I decided to give her a second chance with The Book of Tomorrow. I was extremely attracted to the cover, which looks like an old tome of magic, and to the cover blurb that says, “What if we knew what tomorrow would bring? Would we fix it? Could we?” And that’s exactly what Ahern’s teenage protagonist Tamara Goodwin is about to find out.
Sixteen year old Tamara Goodwin and her mother Jennifer are forced to move from Dublin to a country home on the property of Kilsaney Castle after Tamara’s father committed suicide and left his family with nothing. Spoiled and self-serving, Tamara has difficulty adjusting to the changes in her life and constantly butts heads with her nosy Aunt Rosaleen, who always seems to be around when Tamara would rather be left alone. When Tamara meets Marcus, a slightly older guy who drives around the traveling library, she is drawn to a book unlike any other in the van. She takes it with her and discovers it’s blank. But the next time she looks, she discovers that she’s written in it…except the entry is dated for the next day and she never actually wrote in it. If she doesn’t like how a conversation or certain events play out, she sets out to change them, hoping for a more positive outcome.
The Book of Tomorrow is far from perfect for several reasons, but I absolutely loved the premise of this book. Tamara is a difficult character to feel compassion for, but the more the reader learns about her life and her past, the easier it is to care for her. She’s a teenager, but her “voice” seems much older. Even though Ahern is under 30 herself, I don’t feel she quite captured the teenage spirit. Some of the older characters are well-drawn, especially quirky Sister Ignatius and bitter Aunt Rosaleen.
I had a huge problem with the book once it reached the last few chapters. Instead of slowly feeding us bits of this huge secret throughout the novel, we learn everything in one large chunk, including certain characters’ motivations for their horrific actions. There is one character in particular that I truly think should have been introduced in some creative way in the first few chapters, especially since the book starts out so slow anyway.
Cecilia Ahern’s craft has definitely improved from her first novel to her new release, and I just may go back and give P.S. I Love You another shot.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.