The Book of Tomorrow
by Cecilia Ahern
Published July 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Copy provided by publisher in exchange for honest review
Raised in the lap of luxury, spoiled and tempestuous sixteen-year-old Tamara Goodwin has never had to think about tomorrow. But when her world is irrevocably shaken by her father’s self-imposed death, she and her mother are left drowning in debt and forced to move in with Tamara’s peculiar aunt and uncle in a tiny countryside village.
Lonely and bored, Tamara’s sole diversion is a traveling library. There she finds a large leather-bound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued, she pries open the lock, and what she finds takes her breath away–for what’s written inside is not only impossible and magical . . . it’s her future.
Tamara Goodwin is just like most teenaged girls that have been born rich—spoiled, snotty, entitled, shallow, and think they can do no wrong. That is until her father commits suicide and she’s the one to discover his body. Her mother is forced to sell off all of their houses and a good chunk of their possessions to pay the debts the father has left behind. Soon Tamara has to leave their Dublin mansion and her comfortable life behind when she moves with her mother to live with her mother’s brother and his strange wife in the country.
As Tamara grieves in her own way—but more for the loss of her old life—and her mother retreats into herself so much so that she’s nearly comatose at times, Tamara is left to her own devices to find ways to entertain herself over the summer in the country. But her Aunt Rosaleen is suffocating and overbearing to both Tamara and her mother, and Tamara acts out in often hurtful, mean, and underhanded ways to get away from Rosaleen and away from her watchful eyes and micromanaging ways. Uncle Arthur goes along with whatever Rosaleen says, not wanting to make waves in their home or to cause them any added distress.
When a traveling library mistakenly stops at their cottage looking for the local convent, Tamara finds a good looking driver named Marcus and a locked, leather bound book. It turns out that the book is a blank diary, but it starts to reveal the events of the next day—in Tamara’s handwriting.
As Tamara tries to navigate the complex relationships between herself, Aunt Rosaleen, her mother, and even her father, she learns to listen and deal with the events that the book predicts—and to use them to her benefit.
Written in Tamara’s first person point of view, The Book of Tomorrow takes you down the emotional path as she learns to deal with her father’s death, and how she grows from a snotty rich girl into a mature young woman. Her character, while unlikeable at first, was realistic and well-written, and I enjoyed reading things from her perspective. The character of Rosaleen was also well developed, and you get a deep insight into exactly who she and what makes her tick is as the book moves along.
But this book took a while to really move along, and things didn’t really pick up steam until about halfway through. There were a few characters that were key to the plot but weren’t that well developed, like Marcus, Arthur, and Wesely. The deep mystery of why Tamara has received the book that shows her the next day’s events along with what exactly is the family dynamic between her mother, uncle, and aunt, plays out nicely over the last half of the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Book of Tomorrow. The writing was emotional, well-paced, and vividly described—all while staying true to the voice of a seventeen year old girl who’s undergoing an intense, sudden emotional and traumatic upheaval. Cecilia Ahern certainly knows how to do tragic, untimely death well, and she writes her characters dealing with the aftermath expertly. I give this one a solid four out of five.