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The Book of Tomorrow: A Novel

The Book of Tomorrow: A Novel

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The Book of Tomorrow: A Novel

3.5/5 (134 ratings)
338 pages
5 hours
Jan 25, 2011


“A sweet, life-affirming tale . . . with a liberal sprinkling of magic.”
Marie Claire (UK)

“Filled with family secrets, intrigue, and magic aplenty.”

Bestselling author Cecelia Ahern follows The Gift and P.S. I Love You with the mesmerizing story of a teenaged girl coming face-to-face with grief, growth, and magic in the Irish countryside, after a mysterious book begins to reveal her own memories from one day in the future. Perfect for long-time fans of Ahern, as well as for younger readers coming to her for the first time, The Book of Tomorrow’s strong voice and sophisticated storytelling mark an instant new classic from this already beloved author.

Jan 25, 2011

About the author

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. Her novels have been translated into thirty-five languages and have sold more than twenty-five million copies in over fifty countries. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series. She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You. She lives in Dublin with her family.

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The Book of Tomorrow - Cecelia Ahern

Chapter One

Field of Buds

They say a story loses something with each telling. If that is the case, this story has lost nothing, for it’s the first time it’s been told.

This story is one for which some people will have to suspend their disbelief. And, if it didn’t happen to me, I would be one of those people.

Many won’t struggle to believe it though, for their minds have been opened; unlocked by whatever kind of key causes people to believe. They’re either born that way or, as babies, their little budlike minds are nurtured until their petals slowly open and prepare for the very nature of life to feed them. As the rain falls and the sun shines, they grow, grow, grow; minds so open they go through life aware and accepting, seeing light where there’s dark, seeing possibility in dead ends, tasting victory as others spit out failure, questioning when others accept. Just a little less jaded, a little less cynical. A little less likely to throw in the towel. Some people’s minds open later in life, through tragedy or triumph, either thing acting as the key to unlatch and lift the lid on that know-it-all box, to accept the unknown, to say good-bye to pragmatism and straight lines.

But then there are those whose minds are merely a bouquet of stalks that bud as they learn new information—a new bud for each new fact—but yet they never open, never flourish. They are the people of capital letters and full stops but never of question marks and ellipses . . .

My parents were these latter kinds of people. The know-it-all kind. The if-it’s-not-in-a-book-or-I-haven’t-heard-it-anywhere-before-then-don’t-be-ridiculous kind. Straight thinkers with heads filled with the most beautifully colored buds, so neatly manicured and so sweetly scented, but which never opened, were never light or dainty enough to dance in the breeze; upright and rigid, so matter-of-fact, they were buds till the day they died.

Well, my mother isn’t dead.

Not yet. Not medically, but if she is not dead, she is certainly not living. She’s like a walking corpse that hums every once in a while as though testing herself to see if she’s still alive. From far away you’d think she’s fine. Up close you can see that the bright pink lipstick is a touch uneven, her eyes are tired and soulless, her body like one of those TV show houses on studio lots—all façade, nothing of substance behind. She moves around the house, drifting from room to room in a dressing gown with loosely flapping bell sleeves, as though she’s a Southern belle on a mansion ranch in Gone with the Wind, worrying about worrying about it all tomorrow. Despite her graceful, swanlike room-to-room drifts, she’s kicking furiously beneath the surface, thrashing around trying to keep her head up, flashing us the occasional panicked smile to let us know she’s still here, though it does nothing to convince us.

Oh, I don’t blame her. What a luxury it must be to disappear as she has, leaving everyone else to sweep up the mess and salvage whatever fragments of life are left.

I haven’t told you a thing yet; you must be very confused.

My name is Tamara Goodwin. Goodwin. One of those awful phrases I despise. It’s either a win or it’s not. Like bad loss, hot sun, or very dead. Two words that come together unnecessarily to say whatever could be said solely by the second. Sometimes when telling people my name I drop a syllable: Tamara Good, which is ironic as I’ve never been anything of the sort, or Tamara Win, which mockingly suggests good luck that just isn’t so.

I’m sixteen years old, or so they tell me. I question my age now because I feel twice it. At fourteen, I felt fourteen. I acted eleven and wanted to be eighteen. But in the past few months I’ve aged a few years. Is that possible? Closed buds would shake their heads no, opened minds would say possibly. Anything is possible, they would say. Well, it’s not. Anything is not.

It is not possible to bring my dad back to life. I tried, when I found him lying dead on the floor of his office—very dead, in fact—blue in the face with an empty pill container by his side and an empty bottle of whiskey on the desk. I didn’t know what I was doing but I pressed my lips to his regardless, and pumped up and down on his chest furiously. That didn’t work.

Nor did it work when my mother dived on his coffin at the graveyard during his burial and started howling and clawing at the varnished wood as he was lowered into the ground—which, by the way, was rather patronizingly covered by fake green grass as though it wasn’t the maggoty soil he was being lowered into for the rest of eternity. Though I admire Mum for trying.

Nor did the endless stories about my dad that were shared afterward at the Who Knows George Best storytelling competition, where friends and family had their fingers on the buzzers, ready to jump in with You think that’s funny, wait till you hear this . . .; One time George and I . . .; I’ll never forget the time George said . . . All were so eager, they ended up talking over one another, spilling tears and red wine on Mum’s new Persian rug in the process. They tried their best, you could tell, and in a way he was almost in the room, but their stories didn’t bring him back.

Nor did it work when Mum discovered Dad’s personal finances were about as healthy as he. He was bankrupt; the bank had already started repossession of our house and all the other properties he owned, which left Mum to sell everything—everything—that we owned to pay back the debts. Dad didn’t come back to help us then either. So I knew then that he was gone. He was really gone. I figured if he was going to let us go through all of that on our own, let me blow air into his dead body, let Mum scratch at his coffin in front of everybody, and then watch us be stripped of everything we’d ever owned, I was pretty sure he was gone for good.

It was good thinking on his part not to stick around for it all. It was all about as awful and as humiliating as I’m sure he feared.

If my parents had flowering buds, then maybe, just maybe, they could have avoided all that. But there were no other possibilities, no other ways of doing things for them. They considered themselves practical people, but there was no practical solution for the situation. Only faith and hope and some sort of belief could have seen my father through it. But he didn’t have any of that, and so when he did what he did, he effectively pulled us all into that grave with him.

It intrigues me how death, so dark and final, can shine a light on the character of a person. The lovely stories I heard about Dad during those weeks were endless and touching. They were comforting and I liked getting lost in those tales, but to be perfectly honest, I doubted if they were true. I loved him, of course, but I know my dad wasn’t a good man. He and I rarely spoke and when we did, it was to argue over something, or he was giving me money to get rid of me. He was prickly, he snapped often, and he had a temper that flared easily. He forced his opinions on others and was rather arrogant. He made people feel uncomfortable, and inferior, and he enjoyed that. He would send his steak back three or four times in a restaurant just to watch the waiter sweat. He would order the most expensive bottle of wine and then claim it was corked just to annoy the restaurateur. He would complain to the police about noise levels of house parties on our street that we couldn’t even hear, and he’d have them shut down just because we weren’t invited.

I didn’t say any of this at his funeral or at the little party at our house afterward. In fact, I didn’t say anything at all. I drank a bottle of red wine all by myself and ended up vomiting on the floor by Dad’s desk where he’d died. Mum found me there and slapped me across the face. She said I’d ruined it. I wasn’t sure if she meant the rug or Dad’s memory, but either way I was pretty sure that he’d fucked up both of them all by himself.

I’m not just heaping all the hate on my dad here. I too wasn’t the best daughter. My parents gave me everything and I rarely said thank you. Or if I said it, I don’t think I ever meant it. I don’t actually think that I knew what it meant. Thank you is a sign of appreciation. Mum and Dad continually told me about the starving babies in Africa, as if that was a way to make me appreciate anything. Looking back on it, I realize the best way to make me appreciate anything was probably not to have given me everything.

We lived in a seven-thousand-square-foot, six-bedroom contemporary mansion with a swimming pool, tennis court, and private beach in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland. My room was on the opposite side of the house to my parents’ and it had a balcony overlooking the beach that I hardly looked out at. It had a private bathroom with a shower and Jacuzzi bath, with a plasma TV—TileVision, to be precise—in the wall above the bath. I also had a wardrobe full of designer clothes and handbags, a top-of-the-line computer, a PlayStation, and a four-poster bed. Lucky me.

In truth, I wasn’t just ungrateful; I was a nightmare daughter. I was rude, I answered back, I expected everything, and even worse, I thought I deserved all these things just because everybody else I knew had them. It didn’t occur to me for one moment that they didn’t particularly deserve them either.

I figured out a way to escape my bedroom at night and sneak outside to meet with my friends; a climb from my bedroom balcony and down the piping, onto the roof of the swimming pool, then a few easy steps to the ground. There was an area on our private beach where my friends and I went drinking. The girls mostly drank Dolly Mixtures: the contents of our parents’ drinks cabinets all in one plastic bottle. We took just a couple inches from each bottle so they wouldn’t suspect anything. The guys preferred to drink whatever hard cider they could get their hands on. They also had whichever girl they could get their hands on. That person was mostly me. There was a boy, Johnny, who I stole from my best friend, Zoey, whose dad was a famous actor and so—I’ll be honest—just because of that I used to let him put his hand up my skirt for about a half hour every night. I figured that one day I’d get to meet his dad. But I never did.

My parents felt it was important for me to know how fortunate I was to be living in my big house by the sea. So to help me appreciate the world, and to see how other people live, we spent our summers in our villa in Marbella, Christmas in our Verbier chalet, and Easter at the New York Ritz. There was a pink convertible MINI Cooper with my name on it waiting for me for my seventeenth birthday, and a friend of my dad’s, who had a recording studio, was waiting to hear me sing and possibly sign me up. Though after I felt his hand on my arse, I never wanted to spend a moment alone in a room with him. Not even to be famous.

Mum and Dad attended charity functions throughout the year. Mum would spend more money on her dresses than the actual cost of the tables, and twice a year she’d hand down the impulse buys she never wore to her sister-in-law, Rosaleen, who lived down in the country—in case Rosaleen ever felt the need to milk cows in a Pucci sundress.

I know now—now that we’re out of the world we once lived in—that the three of us weren’t very nice people. I think somewhere beneath the current nonresponsive surface of my mother she knows it too. We weren’t evil people, we just weren’t nice. We didn’t offer anything to anybody in the world but we took an awful lot.

But. We didn’t deserve this.

Before, I never thought of tomorrow. I lived in the now. I wanted this now, I wanted that now. The last time I saw my father I shouted at him and told him I hated him and then I slammed the door in his face. I never took a step back or a step outside of my little world to think about what on earth I was doing or saying, and how it was hurting anybody else. I told Dad I never wanted to see him again, and I never did. I never thought about the possibility that those would be my final words to him and that that would be my final moment with him. That’s a lot to have to deal with. I have a lot to forgive myself for. It’s going to take time.

But now, because of Dad’s death and because of the story I have yet to share with you, I have no choice but to think of tomorrow and all the people that tomorrow affects. Now I’m glad when I wake up in the morning that there is a tomorrow.

I lost my dad. He lost his tomorrows and I lost all my tomorrows with him. You could say that now I appreciate them when they come. Now I want to make them the best they can possibly be.

Chapter Two

Two Bluebottles

In order for ants to find the safest route to food, one goes out on its own. When that lone ant has found the path, it leaves a chemical trail for the others to follow. When you stamp on a line of ants or, less psychotically, if you interfere in their chemical trail in any way, it drives them crazy. The ones that have been left behind crawl around frantically in a panic, trying to regain the trail. I like watching them totally disoriented at first, running around bumping into one another while trying to figure out which way to go, then regrouping, reorganizing, and eventually crossing the pathway back in their straight line as if nothing had ever happened.

Their panic reminds me of Mum and me. Somebody broke our line, took out our leader, ruined our trail, and our lives descended into utter chaos. I think—I hope—that with time, we’ll find the right way to go again. It takes one to lead the rest. I think, seeing as Mum is sitting this one out, that it’s up to me to go out front alone.

I was watching a bluebottle fly yesterday. In an effort to escape the living room, he kept flying against the window, hitting his head against the glass over and over. Then he stopped launching himself at it like a missile and stuck to one little windowpane, buzzing about like he was having a panic attack. It was frustrating to watch, especially because if he’d just flown up a little bit higher toward the top of the window, which was open, he’d have been free. But he just kept doing the same thing over and over again. I could imagine his frustration of being able to see the trees, the flowers, the sky, just on the other side of the glass, yet not being able to get to them. I tried to help him a few times, to guide him toward the open window, but he flew away from me and continued his manic flying around the room. He’d eventually come back to the same window and I could almost hear him: Well, this is the way I came in . . .

I wondered if my watching him from the armchair is what it’s like to be God, if there is a God. He sits back and sees the big picture, just as I could see that if the bluebottle just moved up a few inches, he’d be free. He wasn’t really trapped at all, he was just looking in the wrong place. I wondered if God could see a way out for me and Mum. If I can see the open window for the bluebottle, maybe God can see the tomorrows for me and Mum. That idea brings me comfort. Well, it did, until I left the room and returned a few hours later to see a dead bluebottle on the windowsill. Then to show you where my mind is right now, I started crying . . . Then I got mad at God because in my head the death of that bluebottle meant Mum and I might never find our way out of this mess. What good is it being so far back you can see everything and yet not do anything to help?

Then I realized this: I had tried to help the bluebottle, but it wouldn’t let me. And then I felt sorry for God because I understood how it must be frustrating for him. He offers people a helping hand, but it often gets pushed away. People always want to help themselves first.

I never used to think about these things before; God, bluebottles, ants. I’d rather have been caught dead than be seen sitting in an armchair with a book in my hand and staring at a dirty fly tapping against a window on a Saturday. Maybe that’s what Dad had thought in his final moments: I’d rather be caught dead here in my study than go through the humiliation of having everything taken from me. My Saturdays used to be spent at Topshop with my friends, trying on absolutely everything and laughing nervously while Zoey stuffed as many accessories down her pants as she could manage before leaving the store. If we weren’t at Topshop we’d spend the day sitting in Starbucks having grande gingersnap lattes and banana honey muffins. I’m sure that’s what they’re all doing now.

I haven’t heard from anyone since the first week I got here, except a text from Laura before my phone was cut off, filling me in on all the gossip, the biggest of all being that Zoey and Johnny got back together and did it in Zoey’s house when her parents were away in Monte Carlo for the weekend. Her dad has a gambling problem, which Zoey and the rest of us loved because it meant when we all stayed over at her house, her parents would come home much later than everybody else’s. Anyway, apparently Zoey said that sex with Johnny hurt worse than the time the lesbian from the Sutton hockey team hit her between the legs with the stick, which was really bad, believe me—I saw—and she isn’t in a rush to do it again. Meanwhile Laura told me not to tell anyone but she herself was meeting Johnny this weekend to do it. She hopes I don’t mind and please don’t tell Zoey. As if I could tell anyone if I wanted to, where I am.

Where I am. I haven’t told you that yet, have I? I’ve mentioned my mum’s sister-in-law, Rosaleen, already. She’s the one my mum used to empty her wardrobe of all her unworn impulse buys for, sending them down in black sacks with the tags still on. Rosaleen’s married to my uncle Arthur, who is my mum’s brother. They live in a gatehouse in the country in a place called Meath in the middle of nowhere with hardly anybody else around. We visited them only a few times in my life and I was always bored to death. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there and the buildup was always a letdown. I thought they were hicks in the middle of the sticks. I used to call them the Deliverance Duo. That’s the only time I remember Dad laughing at one of my jokes. He never came with us when we visited Rosaleen and Arthur. I don’t think they ever had an argument or anything, but like penguins and polar bears, they were just too far apart to be able to spend any time near one another. Anyway, that’s where my mum and I live now. In the gatehouse with the Deliverance Duo.

It’s a sweet house, a quarter of the size of our old one, which is no bad thing, and it reminds me of the one in Hansel and Gretel. It’s built from limestone and the wood around the windows and roof is painted olive green. There are three bedrooms upstairs and a kitchen and a living room downstairs. Mum has a private bathroom but Rosaleen, Arthur, and I all share a bathroom on the second floor. Used to having my own bathroom, I think this is gross, particularly when I have to go in there after my uncle Arthur and his daily newspaper-reading session. Rosaleen is a neat freak, obsessively tidy; she never ever sits down. She’s always moving things, cleaning things, spraying chemicals in the air, and saying stuff about God and his will. I said to her once that I hoped God’s will was better than the one Dad left behind for us. She looked at me, horrified, and scuttled off to dust somewhere else.

Rosaleen has the depth of a shot glass. Everything she talks about is totally irrelevant, unnecessary. The weather. The sad news about a poor person on the other side of the world. Her friend down the road who has broken her arm, or who has a father with two months to live, or somebody’s daughter who married a dick who is leaving her with two children. Everything is doom and gloom and followed by some sort of utterance about God, like God love them, or God is gracious, or Let God be good to them. Not that I talk about anything important, but if I ever try to discuss any of these things in more detail, to get to the root of the problem, Rosaleen is totally incapable of carrying on. She only wants to talk about the sad problem, and she’s not interested in talking about why it happened, nor in the solution. She shushes me with her God phrases, makes me feel like I’m speaking out of turn or as though I’m so young I couldn’t possibly take the reality. I think it’s the other way around. I think she brings things up so that she doesn’t feel like she’s avoiding them, and once they’re out of the way, she doesn’t talk about them ever again.

Before we came to live here, I think I’d heard my uncle Arthur speak about five words total. It’s as though Mum had gone through her life speaking for both of them—not that he would have shared her views on anything she said. These days Arthur speaks more than Mum. He has an entire language of his own, which I’ve slowly but surely learned to decipher. He speaks in grunts, nods, and snot-snorts; a kind of mucous inhale, which is something he does when he disagrees with something. A mere Ah, and a throw back of the head means he’s not bothered by something. For example, here is how a typical breakfast conversation would go.

Arthur and I are sitting at the kitchen table and Rosaleen as usual is buzzing about the place with crockery piled with toast and little dishes of homemade jam, honey, and marmalade. The radio is blaring so loudly I could hear every word the newscaster was saying from my bedroom before coming to the table; some annoying miserable man talking in monotone about the terrible things happening in the world. And so Rosaleen comes to the table with the teapot.

Tea, Arthur.

Arthur throws back his head like a horse trying to rid his mane of a fly. He wants tea.

And the man on the radio talks about how another factory in Ireland has closed and one hundred people are losing their jobs.

Arthur inhales and a load of mucus is sucked up through his nose and then down his throat. He doesn’t like this.

Rosaleen appears at the table with another plate of toast piled high. Oh, isn’t that terrible, God love their families. And the little ones now with their daddies out of work.

Their mothers too, you know, I say, taking a slice of toast.

Rosaleen watches me bite into the toast and her green eyes widen as I chew. She always watches me eat and it freaks me out. It’s as though she is the witch from Hansel and Gretel, watching for me to become plump enough so that she can throw me into the stove with my hands tied behind my back and an apple stuffed in my gob. I wouldn’t mind an apple. It would have the fewest calories of anything she’d ever fed me.

I swallow what’s in my mouth and put the rest of my toast down on my plate.

She leaves the table again, disappointed.

On the news they talk about some new government tax increase and Arthur inhales more mucus. If he hears any more bad news, he’ll have no room for his breakfast with all that mucus. He’s only in his forties but he looks and acts older. From the shoulders up he reminds me of a king prawn, always bent over something, whether it’s his food or his work.

Rosaleen returns with a plate of Irish breakfast enough to feed all the children of the one hundred factory workers who have just lost their jobs.

Arthur throws his head back again. He’s happy about this.

Rosaleen stands beside me and pours me tea. I’d love nothing more than a gingersnap latte but I tip the milk into the strong tea and sip it all the same. Her eyes watch me and don’t look away till I swallow.

I don’t know how old Rosaleen is exactly but I’m guessing somewhere in her early to mid-forties, and if this makes sense, I’m sure whatever age she really is, she looks ten years older. She looks like she’s from the 1940s in her floral tea dresses buttoned down the middle, with a slip underneath. My mum never wore slips; she barely wore underwear. Rosaleen has mouse-brown hair, always worn down, parted sharply in the center of her head, revealing gray roots, and it’s short, to her chin. She always tucks her hair behind both ears, pink little mouse ears peeping out. She never wears earrings. Or makeup. She wears a gold

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What people think about The Book of Tomorrow

134 ratings / 67 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    A sweet story of a young girl coming to terms with the death of her father.
  • (3/5)
    The Book of Tomorrow is touted as an Adult fantasy, but to me it read (or rather sounded, as I listened to the audio book) more like a YA Gothic suspense. Unraveling the mystery was pretty good, but I felt cheated that I still don't know the origins of the magic of the "Book of Tomorrow"diary. And in the audio book, the narrator' lovely Irish lilt had me confusing the main character's name, Tamara, with the word "tomorrow", so that caused me further confusion throughout the story at key places.I was hoping for more magic.
  • (4/5)
    Here’s the plot as I knew it going into the story: Tamara’s dad dies, her mother withdraws deeply into her grief, and the previously wealthy mother and daughter most go live with poor relations to get by. While struggling to fit into her new life, Tamara finds a book, which every night reveals the events which will happen the next day.Based on the description, I was nervous that this book would be very emotional, bordering on too angsty or too sad for me to enjoy. I’m not sure what drew me to read it any way, perhaps the intriguing premise and cover picture, but whatever it was, my instincts were good. Although there were certainly emotional and thought-provoking elements to the story, the story felt most like a really good mystery to me.This wasn’t the Agatha-Christie-style mystery I usually go for, with a clear crime, defined suspect list, and deductions based on human nature. Instead it was something fresh and new and wonderful. At the beginning, Tamara simply has a suspicion that something is not right. Perhaps her aunt isn’t doing as much as she should to help her mother. Perhaps her aunt’s and uncle’s eccentricities hide something more sinister. But the may also just be a quiet, slightly odd couple doing what they think is best for Tamara and her mom. Initially, it’s hard to say and events move slowly.After Tamara finds the book, the pace picks up a lot and the story comes into it’s own. I particularly liked the unique way in which parts of the mystery were revealed. Sometimes answers were spelled out in the book Tamara found. Other times, she has to do her best to improve on the day she read about. The back and forth between the book and the real events could have become confusing. Fortunately, the author helpfully references the appropriate book entry as a day goes by which clearly made the distinction between the book and what really happened.Finally, I liked that the initially spoiled Tamara grows as a person through her experiences. Having the book forces her to realize that her actions have an impact on the future, causing her to approach her life more deliberately. This was a very well-written, creative approach to telling a story and I would highly recommend it. Now I just need to catch up to the rest of the world and read Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You .
  • (4/5)
    This was an interesting mix of current teen angst and good old-fashioned gothic mystery. I enjoyed the voice of the sixteen-year-old protagonist and her stereotypical gothic-type characters like the evil aunt, browbeaten uncle, lame victim mother, and the hip meddlesome nun/neighbor. The only thing off for me was the Marcus/Wesley thing . . . I didn't get the point of Marcus and his traveling library and what that had to do with the story. In any case, I found this an enjoyable read and I think teen girls would like it as well.**As a side note, the ARC I received was printed upside-down and backwards making it very annoying to read (in fact, I almost passed on reviewing it but luckily the story caught me enough that I put up with the bizarre format). I assume the final book was not bound that way . . . at least I hope not.
  • (5/5)
    So this is my first Cecelia Ahern book and it definitely won't be my last. There is something about her writing in this book that just grabbed me and wouldn't let me go and if her other books are anything like The Book of Tomorrow I have a new author to add to my list of auto-reads.The Book of Tomorrow starts us off meeting Tamara, a teenager who seems rather self-absorbed and unlikable. She and her mother have had to move in with relatives in the countryside because her father killed himself and left them with a lot of debt. Tamara hopes that this situation is just for the summer because she misses her friends and her old life and she's not too crazy about her aunt or the fact that there is not much to do where she is.One day she meets a boy who runs a book-mobile and she finds a book with a lock and takes it after spending the afternoon with this boy. Then she meets a nun who opens the book and Tamara finds that the pages are blank. She plans to use it as a diary of sorts, but when she wakes up the next day she finds her writing in it and it's what will happen that day.At first she is confused and then she battles with whether to change the future (avoid mistakes she writes about) or just let things happen. I found this part of the plot to be fascinating and while all of this is going on, Tamara begins to grow and become a more likable girl. None of this happens overnight. She still acts like her spoiled self through the book. But all she really wants is her mother to become like she use to be instead of the somewhat comatose grief-stricken woman she is right now.Mistakes ensue and a mystery opens up. Just what is Tamara's aunt up to and what is she hiding. The novel has a nice gothic feel to it and I loved the mystery as much as I loved watching Tamara grow and change.The Book of Tomorrow is captivating both through the characters, the scenery and the plot. I found it to be a fascinating book which is wonderfully written and held my attention very well. This was one of those I could read while my children wrestled and played on the floor in the same room with me and that says a lot for holding my attention.The Book of Tomorrow is a must-read in my opinion if you already enjoy Ms. Ahern's books or have not tried them yet. I found it to be an entertaining read and one I would consider reading again and again.
  • (4/5)
    I am pleasantly surprised by this book. Tamara, a teenager, finds a diary written in her own hand that tells her stories about tomorrow. The premise is potentially a backdrop for a melodramatic teenage life. Not so. Tamara is more like Flavia DeLuce than an average teenager. When her family behaves strangely and the writings in her diary emphasis the secretiveness, Tamara begins an historical expedition into a family secret. My only critique stems from reading far too much. I believe it to be bad story telling to begin a story in a monologue talking about telling the story. Just get to it. The beginning of the book was so unimpressive to me that I forgot it entirely by the end. But hey; the book ends on a good note allowing me to rate it as one that I might read again and would recommend to a friend.
  • (5/5)
    Inhaltsangabe:Tamara Goodwin hat ihren Vater tot aufgefunden, nachdem er sich das Leben genommen hat. Die 16jährige, stets vom Erfolg ihres Vaters verwöhnt und zugeschüttet mit allen materiellen Dingen des Lebens, muss sich mit der Tatsache auseinandersetzen, das sie alles verloren haben, denn der Vater stand kurz vor dem finanziellen Ruin.Zusammen mit ihrer traumatisierten Mutter muss sie zu Verwandten aufs Land ziehen. Tante Rosaleen und Onkel Arthur nehmen sie herzlich gern auf und versuchen ihnen das Leben so angenehm wie möglich zu machen. Die Mutter zieht sich innerlich zurück und spricht nicht mehr groß. Und Tamara langweilt sich.Eines Tages findet sie in einem Bücherbus ein sonderbares Buch. Sie nimmt es mit und schlägt es auf: Leere Seiten. Die Nonne Schwester Ignatius schlägt ihr vor, es als Tagebuch zu benutzen. Und gerade will sie beginnen zu schreiben, als sie einen Eintrag entdeckt: Mit ihrer Handschrift und vom nächsten Tag.Und es passiert immer wieder. Und während sie einem großen Geheimnis auf die Spur kommt, lernt sie von sich selbst und dem Leben.Mein Fazit:Die ersten 100 Seiten waren etwas mühselig. Tamara erzählt die Geschichte aus ihrer eigenen Sicht und macht manchmal einige verwirrende Sprünge. Und sie gibt selbst von sich zu, ein richtiges Ekel gewesen zu sein. Sie ist anfangs zynisch, zickig und launisch gewesen zu sein. Das kam daher, weil der Vater sie mit allem überhäufte, was man mit Geld kaufen konnte.Aber der Verlust des Vaters, mit dem sie vor dem Tod auch noch einen bösen Streit hatte, macht ihr schwer zu schaffen. Und der Einzug bei Tante Rosaleen und Onkel Arthur machen ihr die Sache nicht einfacher. Denn Rosaleen benimmt sich merkwürdig und sofort wird nicht nur dem Leser, sondern auch Tamara klar, das sie etwas verbirgt. Und die Spannung steigert sich mit jeder Seite, denn Tamara ist vor allen Dingen auch neugierig. Sie sorgt sich auch um ihre Mutter und auch da hat Rosaleen scheinbar die Hände mit im Spiel.Die letzten 100 Seiten habe ich in einem Rutsch gelesen, denn ich wollte wissen, was es für ein großes Geheimnis gab. Und auch die Entwicklung von Tamara interessierte mich. Sie wird einem Ende dann doch sehr sympathisch. Ein paar Fragen sind allerdings offen geblieben, aber ansonsten empfand ich die Geschichte als sehr ergreifend.Von mir bekommt es 4,5 von 5 Sternchen.Anmerkung: Die Rezension stammt vom Juli 2010.Veröffentlicht am 22.11.16!
  • (3/5)
    I love Cecelia Ahern's books, but this novel really fell flat for me. There was a ton of potential but I felt like she had too many ideas, which resulted in underdeveloped characters and disappointment. I wasn't impressed and this may be the one book of Ahern's that I never purchase.
    Like everyone else has said the cover was beautiful and I really did like having my own little built in bookmark. However, I have a feeling the cover was made so beautiful because there really wasn't anything all that worthwhile inside.
  • (3/5)
    Tamara's life is uprooted when her father kills himself. She and her mother have to move away to live with "family". Her mother becomes more distant, never talking or leaving her bed. Tamara starts to suspect her Aunt is up to something. Then Tamara stumbles upon an empty journal that begins to forcast the next day's events. The book helps her unlock all the mystries of her family, where she is at and her past. Very fast paced...I couldn't put the book down.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this! What started off as a fish-out-of-water story, I was slowly drawn in to Tamara's life and her confusion about what was happening around her. I loved the characters and the growing sense of fear and claustrophobia that Rosaleen causes. The ending was great, and while some of the plot elements seemed a bit too convenient, I didn’t want to put this down. A genuine surprise.
  • (3/5)
    This book is best described as chick lit with a magical twist. Dublin teenager Tamara Goodwin has lost everything. Her father has committed suicide, leaving the family in debt and leading to them losing their home. Tamara's mother is so overwhelmed by grief that she sleeps all day and rarely gets out of bed. She and her mother have been forced to move in with an aunt and uncle who live in the middle of nowhere. If all of this was not bad enough something strange seems to be happening in Tamara's new home. Aunt Rosalind is evasive, and she refuses to let Tamara see her mother. The garage remains mysteriously locked, and Tamara is ordered not pursue any of her curiosity about the surrounding area. Most significantly, she acquires a diary that writes entries for her, foreshadowing the next day's events. The course of the plot of this book is rather predictable, though the magical elements do offer a sort of interesting twist. I don't generally read books with any kind of fantastic elements, but I did think that Ahern offered just enough here to create interest without overdoing. The magic did not necessarily always seem logical. I know, it's magic, but whether Tamara could change the future or not did seem to vary from day to day. Probably the best thing about this book is the setting, on the grounds of a ruined castle and an old convent. The setting was somewhat magical in and of itself, and it definitely added to the atmosphere.
  • (4/5)
    It starts out a little slow. I had a hard time identifying with Tamara Goodwin in the beginning - not only did she come from a material world that is far, far removed from my personal experience, but as a character she's not exactly likeable. Once she found "her" journal - the Book of Tomorrow - I started getting more engaged with the story. I wanted to find out what this crazy girl would do with her glimpses into the future - would she change history before it had a chance to happen? Would she learn from the lessons found in the book - and in her real-time life? It wasn't one of those totally-engrossing reads, especially since it took some persistence to "get to the good stuff," but it was an enjoyable read once I got in to it. I did find myself wanting to know what all the hiding and unsaid things were about, and trying to figure out where all the various characters would fit into the final equation. I was glad I persevered and kept reading, and it's definitely the best Ahern novel I've read so far. If you're up to the challenge of wrestling with Tamara and working your way to the good part, then I'd definitely say "read it" - if you want a quick, chick lit read, I'd stay away from Book of Tomorrow.
  • (1/5)
    I initially jumped at the idea of reading this book, based on this synopsis from the back cover, " 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 is written inside is not only impossible and magical...it's her future." Sounds like a perfect book to me. What I discovered however lacked the motivation to get me through reading one boring page after another.So many times, I set this one aside trying to find a reason to pick it up and finish it, much like a meal I know I should eat, but because it lacks in flavor, I find it difficult to attempt a second time. However, pushing through each chapter was lacking in what drives a reader to continue reading. I found it lacked in virtually every area.The book begins with the suicide of Tamara Goodwin's father who left the father piled in debt and now is being forced out of their home when it's foreclosed on. Rather than face his responsibilities, he took his own life, leaving Tamara and her mother, who lived in an opulent and luxurious lifestyle now forced to living with her aunt and uncle who don't seem to care much other than it's their duty to take family in. Her Uncle speaks in mucus snorts, nods and grunts and her Aunt is so completely consumed in her OCD world, that Tamara is forced to find something to do outside of the home. She is snobby, spoiled and is very vocal on her displeasure with how her life turned out. Your typical spoiled rich girl losses everything and now has to deal with life, type of story.Her mother is consumed with despair at losing her husband, unbelief that he left them destitute and is now residing with her family to make ends meet. She doesn't seem to care that she still has a daughter who needs her care other than finding them a place to live. Tamara's reckless lifestyle before all this happened with promiscuous sexual encounters, drinking and party's with her rich and wealth friends, made me want to leave this book sitting on the nearest counter and hope never to pick it up again. The only good thing about this particular book was it did end. However that being said, there are some readers that would probably enjoy this book, but for me, this one did not appeal to the book lover in me. I was hoping for more, considering I did enjoy this author's novel, P.S. I Love You but it wasn't something I enjoyed at all.I received The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I'd have to rate this one a 1 out of 5 stars based on my own personal standards listed on my book review criteria. Readers may be warned that this book does contains strong language and sexual content. I would also caution you that you might want to check out other reviews before making a decision to read this book. Remember that not all books appeal to all types of readers and it's hard when I have to make a tough decision like this to write an honest review based solely on my own personal opinion of what I thought of the novel.
  • (5/5)
    After Tamara Goodwin's father finds himself unable to pay off all his debts and commits suicide, she and her mother are exiled to the countryside, to Tamara's aunt and uncle.

    Gone is the pool and bath with a built in television. Gone are the posh Dublin friends and fancy foods; the shopping trips to London and weekends in Paris. Now Tamara finds herself living in a tiny village, in the gatehouse to an ancient castle, with her crazy aunt and her uncle who hardly ever speaks a word. And her mother who's still 'grieving'--but in a way that means that she never comes out of her room or speaks to anyone.

    Tamara's going stir crazy when, one day not long after her arrival, Marcus, a local boy, shows up driving the traveling library. Tamara finds one book in the library that she decides and after finally prying open the lock on it, she finds diary entries. Entries written in her own handwriting. Dated the next day.

    Tamara's at first skeptical, but with her life seemingly flying out of control--just what is going on with her mother, and why won't her aunt have her seen by a doctor?--and the journal turning out right that first day, Tamara decides to give listening a shot.

    Maybe the book will give her some answers.

    I've only read two of Cecelia Ahern's other books, PS I Love You and Rosie Dunne/Love, Rosie, and while I really liked those books, this one was loads better. The Book of Tomorrow had a lot more depth than Cecelia Ahern's other books that I've read. It was suspenseful and emotional--but without being Lifetime moviesque--and the characters, their relationships and the different dynamics were really well done and, quite frankly, rather unexpected, too.

    This is all on top of a character that would not have been at all out of place in a Hitchcock or Stephen King tale. She was creepy, I'm telling you. As I've said I haven't read all of Ahern's writing so I don't know if any of them are in the same vein as Book of Tomorrow but I certainly hope that some of her future work is because, if so, readers are certainly in for a treat.

    While Cecelia Ahern can do romance and sweet and cute, she can really do mystery with a hint of creepy & magic.

    The main character in The Book of Tomorrow is a teenager, but Tomorrow is really an ageless book (if that's even a thing--if not, I am now making it one!). Readers of any age--those of Tamara's age up to those of Rosealeen's age and beyond--will easily enjoy this tale. There is mention (and I believe just mention/recollection more so than action) of teens doing things that good teens maybe wouldn't do, so some might not like it for younger teens there. But because nothing's explicit and everything really does have consequences, I really wouldn't even stop them from reading this.


    (won a galley from the publisher)
  • (3/5)
    I found this a bit slow to start with but once I got into the story I wanted to finish it, however I found the plot a bit dated and predictable. If it had been set about 30 or 40 years ago (or even more) it would have been more believable. I did not enjoy this as much as 'Thanks for the memories' mainly because the characters did not seem as rich and it had a lot less humour. If the character of Sister Ignatius had been built up more it would have added more interest and fun to the novel. Disappointing but readable.
  • (4/5)
    Tamara Goodwin's life is turned upside down when she and her mother must move in with her aunt and uncle after her father commits suicide. She is bored in the country with no way to get into town and her aunt constantly looking over her shoulder so when a traveling library stops at the house she jumps at the chance to take a ride. A locked book with no author and blank pages turns out to be her diary but the entries seem to write themselves and they are always dated a day in the future. Tamara hardly believes it is possible until the events recorded in the book start happening and then she reads eagerly wondering if she can change them. Each evening she reads about the next day discovering clues along the way to family secrets long buried which will change what she knows about her life forever.Cecelia Ahern writes interesting but very flawed characters and wonderful description. The book started a bit slowly and unevenly but that felt like it mimicked Tamara's emotions as she struggled to find her footing in the strange and uncertain world after her father's death. So many times Tamara and the reader are given clues that things are not quite what they seem or what she has been led to believe but it takes quite a while to put it all together. Questions arise but are left hanging until almost the end of the book. I think this is in part because Tamara doesn't know enough to know what to ask and in part because she senses that the answers could impact her in a fundamental way and so she brushes things aside not really wanting to know.The Book of Tomorrow was a very fast and interesting read. I enjoyed the story, the writing, and the way the characters changed throughout the book.
  • (1/5)
    Couldn't get into this at all. Different style from her usual thing. Hardly any dialogue. Book reads like a monologue memoir of a boring person.
  • (2/5)
    Readable but entirely unbelievable and not very interesting.
  • (5/5)
    When Tamara’s father commits suicide it renders her mother incapable of much. He also rendered their accounts in the red and the bank took the house in debt payment. They must break down their treasures and move from Dublin to the miniscule house owned by Arthur and Rosaleen, Jennifer’s relations in the country.Things are odd and become odder as the novel reveals that there is much to be learned in the hills of Ireland. Tamara, a spoiled brat who is NOT happy with her current situation sets out to try to find things to do and to especially annoy Rosaleen who couldn’t be nice if she was given a million dollars. Arthur seems well meaning but basically has not clue as to the depths of Rosaleen’s thoughts. Then comes a traveling library and Tamara notices a huge book, locked in fact and she must check it out. After getting it open she is amazed to see blank pages! But she doesn’t really want to write her thoughts down as it’s too depressing. She needn’t worry – in the morning when she opens the book the day’s activities are already accounted for. Before they happen.I didn’t like this story at first, I wanted to pop Tamara and tell her to get a grip but, after putting it aside for a couple of days - Oh my! I fell in love with this book and did not want to put it down (alas, work intervened!). Excellent writing, above excellent plot and a cast of characters to love, hate and like. What could be better?
  • (1/5)
    The premise of this book is an interesting one - what would you do if you knew what tomorrow was going to bring? Would you want to know? Would you want to change?Unfortunately, that premise gets lost in a story from the past. The main character is a 16 year old girl. So, the book sounds like it's meant for an audience that age as well. The tale and secret that emerge are somewhat gothic in nature except not told with the depth and passion of a gothic tale.In the dedications, the author states that part of the intent of this book was to explore the magic of books. Unfortunately, the magic of the "Book of Tomorrow" is lost in the story being told from the past.Finally, the book starts by stating that there are people who will believe because they have an open mind and there are people who will disbelieve. I am willing to suspend belief and "believe" through a lot of stories. Unfortunately, this was not one of them.
  • (4/5)
    Tamara is a teenaged brat, pure and simple. Even though you may feel a passing bit of sorrow for her only child status and death of her father, her inability to sympathize with her mom's plight and move to the country makes her seem very spoiled indeed. Tamara's bored, but finds a blank book on the local bookmobile. In it, the next day's events surface for her to read. Tamara's life isn't what it seems and she manages to rise above her moodiness to make changes in her situation. Ahern's books are sort of a win or so-so for me and this, while not my favorite, was worth the read.
  • (2/5)
    For a book with so much potential, this one falls short. It is executed poorly, with lackluster character developments and gaping plot holes. Tamara Goodwin is a spoiled, rich teenager girl, who finds herself in the country because of a poor decision by her father. She, along with her incompetent mother, stays with her aunt and uncle, Rosaleen and Arthur.The story is narrated by Tamara, in her whiny, privileged teenage voice. In the beginning, the pace of the story is incredibly slow. Pages and pages are dedicated to her recount of life before moving to the country, followed by seemingly meaningless and lengthy descriptions of country life. In particular, Tamara pays special attention to the castle in town, which is now more of a ruin, and nothing like its former self. One day, she is visited by a travelling library bus, and discovers a book that foretells the future, or tomorrow to be exact. My problem with this book is that Ahern takes too long to get to the actual story. While it’s nice to discover a character’s backstory, and be presented with vivid scenic descriptions for full immersion in the story, all of that is meaningless if we don’t know why we’re reading the story in the first place. “They say a story loses something with each telling. If that is the case, this story has lost nothing, for it’s the first time it’s been told. This story is one for which some people will have to suspend their disbelief. If this wasn’t happening to me, I would be one of those people.” To begin a story with such an enticing opening, only to tease your reader for a hundred of so pages (yes I counted) before telling them said story is just cruel in my opinion. Once the story ‘officially’ begins, with the book of tomorrow in Tamara’s hands, the pace of the story picks up quickly, and ends climactically. However, gaping plot holes are still left wide open, and several questions are still left unanswered at the end.
  • (4/5)
    This book was a bit different than I had anticipated. Instead of a sweet love story, I got a little mystery and suspense but that's ok. Tamara is a bit of a spoiled snot in the beginning and I had a hard time connecting to her but she does learn and grow through the book and she becomes a much more sympathetic character.As the story progressed I knew something was up with Tamara's relatives. Aunt Rosaleen was too creepy to not be hiding anything. I actually suspected it was going to go all Flowers in the Attic on me so I was quite pleased when it didn't go down that route. However, the closer we got to the end the more apparent the big secret was and I was not terribly surprised when all was revealed. Of course, the story was told from Tamara's point of view and she herself was a little slow on the uptake. So it could be that we, as readers, were supposed to know at that point and wait for Tamara to catch up. I found myself several times wanting to shake her and scream 'why is this so difficult to understand!' But, I suppose that denial is a powerful thing. Powerful enough to make you deny what is so plainly clear.All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It was a fun, pleasant read. I stayed up pretty late last night to finish it and that says a lot. Sleep is a big deal for me, so I don't sacrifice it unless I just can't stop reading. I recommend it for anyone looking for a good, light read with a little mystery to it.
  • (5/5)
    Instead of rags to riches, Tamara Goodwin and her mother went from riches to rags. After Mr. Goodwin committed suicide they were penniless and went from a huge house to a small cottage that Tamara and her mother had to share with relatives.Enduring her uncle's crude ways, tolerating her aunt's constant cooking and hovering, having no friends around, having nothing to do in this small town, and dealing with her mother's silence was not how Tamara wanted her days to be. Her aunt and uncle were quite bizarre and seemed to be hiding something. What it was Tamara had no idea. Everything was hush hush and Rosaleen seemed to hide behind her huge tables of food and Arthur said nothing about anything. Tamara wasn't a pleasant young lady to begin with, and this situation didn't improve her mood.As mean as she was, Tamara was quite funny....always joking about things. She also kept looking back at her life and wondering if it really had been better when she was rich. There was a lot of introspection, and the characters' lives were paralleled with inanimate objects and thoughts. Tamara actually met interesting people in the town and discovered a history of the castle.The main focus of the book was based on a diary Tamara found in a mobile library that stopped in "Hicksville" once a week. The diary was quite interesting as well as shocking because of the content. The content contained something hard to believe. She would read the diary every day and the next day it would be filled with pages of even more interest.The book was skillfully written....the author has a great style. You can actually see the grimaces on the character's faces simply because of the wonderful description; you can also feel Tamara's frustration, and Rosaleen's fear of something.The book was imaginative, creative, and a book that was difficult to put down.....a marvelous read. It also was magical and a little out of the ordinary. Being out of the ordinary made it unique, enjoyable, and appealing. I liked the characters for the most part, but they were an odd bunch, especially Rosaleen with her odd ideas and her secret ways of dealing with situations and people.I would consider THE BOOK OF TOMORROW a light read but with undercurrents of secrets, revenge, and jealousy along with a web of deceit and all of it being nicely tied up in the surprise ending. 5/5This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    I really loved this book! When I started reading I figured it would just be chick lit (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but it was so much more. It turned into a fantasy of sorts, with a diary that tells Tamara today what is going to happen tomorrow. I would not normally pick up a book with that slant, so I am glad this was just sprung on me (I guess I didn't read the summary of the book terrible well before reading it). Sufficed to say, if you would like a book with a very honest, well written voice and a little bit of mystery, give The Book of Tomorrow a go.
  • (2/5)
    Audio book narrated by Ali Coffey

    Tamara Goodwin is a child of privilege, living with her mother and father in a seaside mansion just outside Dublin, with her own suite of rooms. Nearly seventeen, she’s looking forward to getting a car for her birthday. But all that ends when her father goes bankrupt and takes an overdose of sleeping pills, leaving Tamara and her mother with the ruins of a life they once knew. Selling everything they can to pay off debts, they move to the small Irish village where her mother’s brother and sister-in-law live in the gatehouse of a once elegant but now burned ruin of a castle. There is NOTHING to do here. The nearest village (barely more than a tavern and a couple of houses) is a 15-minute drive away, and Tamara hasn’t a car. Her mother is lost in a fog, spending her days sleeping and virtually never leaving her room, let alone the house. Her aunt and uncle are busy with their own lives and never answer any of Tamara’s questions. Things begin to change when the local bookmobile stops and she finds an odd book with no title. It turns out to be a blank journal/diary with magical properties. Each night the diary writes itself – in Tamara’s handwriting – describing what will happen tomorrow. Following the diary’s lead, Tamara uncovers a major family secret.
    There is a decent plot (or three) hiding in all this mess. How Tamara and her mother recover from the suicide of their father/husband, and return to some sort of normalcy would make a good story in itself. The secrets of the Kilsaney family and how their castle came to burn down provide enough intrigue and plot twists for a good book. Tamara’s change and maturation from a spoiled, tempestuous teen to a young woman who thinks of others and may have found happiness (and a boyfriend) in a small Irish village could also have been developed into a decent book. But all these plot lines and magical elements seem to have been thrown together without thought. Instead of a hearty stew that melds different ingredients into a delicious and substantial dish, we get a slop jar of leftovers.

    I give it two stars because 1) there were parts of the story that I found interesting and engaging and 2) Ali Coffey did a good job of the audio version. I don’t think I’d recommend the book to anyone, and, although I know Ahern is a very popular author with several bestsellers to her credit, I’m not interested in reading anything else by her.
  • (4/5)
    I won this book in a giveaway. It was amazing! It kept me intrigued from the beginning as there was a mystery surrounding the main character. The story is told by a 16 yr old girl so this one would even be good for a YA fan.
  • (4/5)
    The Book of Tomorrow truly is an enjoyable read, even though the heroine is a spoiled rotten teenager. Tamara is, at least to my surprise, very likable and I couldn't help but root for her. I suppose that it might have something to do with the charm with which Cecelia Ahern writes :) Her characters play their roles effortlessly and despite the book being fairly short, in the end you will quite possibly feel that you know them all very well.I think what I liked the most about the book is its modernized gothic atmosphere. Despite the plot taking place in the 21st century, it feels that the readers are all of a sudden transported to an undiscovered, unknown and shrouded in secrecy place to try and help Tamara solve a mystery of a lifetime. The novel even has its own Mrs. Danvers (Tamara's aunt, Rosaleen) which makes this whole mysterious quest for answers even more delicious. The only two things that I might complain a little bit about is that it did take a little bit of patience to get into the story and that Tamara's language is quite crude at times when it comes to sexual nature, especially considering she is only sixteen.The Book of Tomorrow is the second book of Ahern's that I had the pleasure to read, and even though it's geared more toward the Young Adult audience than her previous novels, it can easily be enjoyed by both young and adult readers. If anything, this book fills a little bit of a void in the YA market which nowadays is flooded with paranormal romances. I'd even venture as far as saying that The Book of Tomorrow is a breath of fresh air with a heroine that's just a normal girl that has to deal with an awful tragedy and deals with it she does. Pretty remarkably, in my opinion. Tamara is inquisitive, unafraid to face difficult truths about herself and also mature enough to try and do the right thing, even if she stumbles along the way. Cecelia Ahern wrote a really fun and intelligent book and if you're looking for a change of scenery in your YA stories, give The Book of Tomorrow a try.
  • (3/5)
    Tamara Goodwin is a spoiled rotten, selfish, boy and clothing obsessed brat of a teenager. She's also just had her world rocked off its axis. Her father committed suicide and left a mountain of debts that mean she and her mother have to go live in the back of beyond with her Uncle Arthur and Aunt Rosaleen, whom Tamara has dubbed the Deliverance Duo. Cut off from her friends, shopping, her enormous house, and elaborate expectations, Tamara is determined not to make the best of things. Even worse, her mother is retreating into grief and sleep, leaving Tamara at the overbearing and obsessive mercy of Aunt Rosaleen.In an effort to escape the claustrophobic feel of the house and her ever-watchful aunt, Tamara starts to explore the local castle's ruins (of much more recent vintage than she thinks), befriends a nun who lives nearby, meets some local teenagers, and flirts with the mobile library driver, on whose bus she discovers a blank book that starts to reveal to her, in her own handwriting no less, her own near future. The book is a diary and each entry is dated the day she is reading it but it is written as if it has already happened. What she does with this knowledge and the ways in which she is able (or not) to change the outcome drives the plot for the most part.I found it incredibly hard to care about Tamara. She was such a snotty, whiny, mopey character and was fairly stagnant throughout the book, only gaining a little clarity about others at the extreme end of the book. Unfortunately, for me, that was too little too late. My good opinion once lost... The rising tension and slight gothic air made the book more interesting but many of the secrets Tamara discovered were so heavily foreshadowed (sign-posted?) that they were not a surprise when they were revealed taking away the impact they should have had. The actual book of tomorrow as a plot device sort of petered out only to reappear later and that felt more sloppy than intentional. Ultimately I was disappointed in the book, having expected something much different from the jacket copy but I suspect that Ahern's many fans will overlook the weaknesses here and thoroughly enjoy this slightly fantastical bit of chick lit.
  • (4/5)
    Twenty-nine year old Irish novelist Cecelia Ahern comes from a distinguished tradition of literature that is infused with mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. Indeed, reading her books, I almost get the sense that the fanciful parts just seem “natural” to her.In writing The Book of Tomorrow, Ahern says she was inspired by her love of books and her respect for their magic: “sometimes they choose you rather than the other way round.” She notes: "Books can come into your life at a time when you’re going through a rough patch, with the power to rescue you, and this is what happens in this one.”Tamara Goodwin, a materialistic and bratty teenager, is definitely going through a rough patch. Her father has just committed suicide, and her mother seems catatonic from grief. Their very upscale house has been repossessed, and they have had to go live out in the middle of nowhere with her mother’s brother and his wife, Arthur and Rosaleen (a couple Tamara had always called “The Deliverance Duo").In their new situation, no one talks of what happened, and Tamara’s mother only sleeps. Something is definitely odd about Arthur and Rosaleen, but Tamara can’t find out what it is. Her questions are ignored by Rosaleen, who tends to counter any attempt at real conversation by proffering food:"And that is how the Goodwin problems were always fixed. Fix them on the surface but don’t go to the root, always ignoring the elephant in the room. …I’d grown up with an elephant in every room. It was practically our family pet.”Tamara does finally meet some local people, one of whom is Marcus, a handsome boy who runs a bookmobile. On her initial foray into the collection, she encounters a large leather-bound book in the non-fiction section without a title or name. Moreover, it is locked with a small gold padlock. Tamara feels strangely drawn to the book, and Marcus lets her take it. Later, when she gets it open, she discovers that it’s a diary, and furthermore, that it is filled in every day with her handwriting describing the events of the following day! She tries to tell some people about the diary (including the wonderful character of Sister Ignatius), but no one believes her except Weseley, a handsome boy who works nearby.With Weseley’s help, Tamara uses the lessons she learns in the diary to try and change what is coming. The entries in the diary also help her find out about the family secrets, and most importantly, even to change herself.Discussion: I’ve read several books now by Ahern, and it is clear she delights in creating modern fables. I thought she did so well with capturing the weltanschauung of modern teens though, I would like to see her try a “regular” book (i.e., without magic) for young adults. (The Book of Tomorrow seems to me to be a quintessential young adult novel, and yet it’s not labeled as such. But who am I to understand marketing decisions?)Evaluation: Some of the characters are drawn very well (Tamara and Sister Ignatius), but others seem a bit inconsistent (such as Marcus) and Rosaleen is a caricature. I love the idea of “for every book a reader” [which, incidentally, is one of the “five laws” of library science, first articulated by S. R. Ranganathan in 1928] and that the right book can alter your life. [A compendium of examples of books that have affected historical figures so much they are believed to have altered the course of history is Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World by Nicholas A.Basbanes.] But using a girl’s own diary to express this idea doesn’t seem to me to demonstrate that principle.Nevertheless, I enjoy Ahern’s books; in each one I have read, she has at least one character delightfully drawn to perfection.