The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
January 19, 2011 25 Comments
I got this book on Friday, read it on Saturday and Sunday! It’s a really nice YA & Adult Fiction book. It’s obviously written by a 16-year old, but the story is interesting for adult readers too. There is only some low-key boy interest, a bit of the supernatural, and, I promise, no vampires.
This book will be released in the US on January 25th. To celebrate, the publisher has reduced the price of one of Ahern’s previous books, Thanks for the Memories for a short time (in e-book version). See below my review for details.
The Book of Tomorrow: What it is about
At the start of The Book of Tomorrow, 16-year old Tamara Goodwin and her mother are moving in with her aunt and uncle in their cottage in the countryside. Tamara is used to luxury all over, as her father was a successful property developer. She lived in a six-bedroom house with a swimming pool in the garden. But her father killed himself, leaving large debts and now Tamara and her mother are broke.
While her mother is in an almost catatonic state staying in her room all the time, Tamara goes to explore. The cottage is the gatehouse to a castle that burned down in the last century and now is a ruin. As she is too young to drive and there are no bus services to the village, Tamara is more or less forced to stay in the vicinity of the cottage and to explore the ruins and the castle grounds.
She is determined to find out who lives in the bungalow behind the cottage and why she isn’t allowed in the garage. Her aunt Rosaleen does not want to explain. Rosaleen is also trying to stop Tamara from seeing her mother too much, and isn’t at all worried about her mother’s unresponsiveness. Tamara, meanwhile, is getting really worried about her.
She finds a notebook that has a pre-written entry in her own handwriting, dated the next day. With this information, she is able to foresee and sometimes change the future, as there is a new entry every day. When aunt Rosaleen’s behaviour becomes stranger and more dangerous, she uses the book to solve the mysteries.
The Book of Tomorrow: What I thought
I loved reading this story! I was almost glued to the book and finished it in two (weekend) days. Tamara is a believable 16-year old rich girl and her story has the form and style of what you would expect from someone that age. But the writing is good. I’m tempted to call it literary fiction but I’m not sure.
I liked it how Tamara grew in the book. At first, she was a grumpy teenager that did not want to be part of her new life and fled the cottage as much as she could. Later on, she took an interest in her surroundings and the people she lived with or met and became a more pleasant, more mature person.
Tamara had to deal with the grief of losing her father, with her worries about her mother who wasn’t getting better, with not being in the company of her friends (brand name clothes and her friends used to make up a large part of her identity). She also struggled with finding a way to talk and behave with the few boys she met and how to undermine her aunt’s authority in order to achieve her goals.
I didn’t like one of the last chapters in the book, where everything Tamara (and the reader) have discovered is explained in more detail by a different protagonist. I found this unnecessary and felt a little patronised. I think maybe I could have done with a little bit more detail, but I didn’t need that whole story. This darkens my memory of the book, which is a pity, as the rest was very engaging.
I think most people that enjoy a good story involving a teenage girl will like this book. The magic isn’t overwhelming or focussed on very much. It’s just there and Tamara makes use of it. The story’s themes are grief, isolation, family relationships and family secrets.
I got this book: from the publishers for review
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 312
First published: 2009
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
P.S. My 13-year old son liked the cover!
Extra: I since have also read The Time of My Life.
Downloading Thanks for the Memories
You can downbload the e-book of Cecelia Ahern’s earlier book Thanks for the Memories for $1.99 until January 25th. After that, the price goes back up to $9.99. If you’re interested, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, the Apple iBookstore (just search for Thanks for the Memories and it comes right up), and other e-book retail sites.
Now you’re thinking: Leeswammes reads so much, has she read this book by any chance? And yes! I read it 2 years ago and gave it 3 stars (OK, but not brilliant). Here is my review (not on my blog, but from Shelfari, where I move about as JudithAnn):
Joyce has an accident and receives a blood transfusion. Justin, for the first time ever, donated some blood not long before.
Soon, Joyce starts to have memories that are not hers, knows languages that she did not know before, and is an expert in architecture and art, although she’s never studied it.
She realises something odd is going on. Justin, meanwhile, keeps meeting this woman (Joyce), that seems familiar, but he can’t place her.
The book is all about releationships, with friends, husbands, family and unknown people.
It’s a good read, but I wasn’t terribly drawn to keep reading.