The Book of Tomorrow – Cecelia Ahern

Perhaps my expectations were askew. My thoughts were: a novel by the same author as “P.S. I love you”, which I haven’t read, but only seen the film adaptation. I wasn’t expecting a teen novel. I wouldn’t call it young adult, which in my experience has more drama and more supernatural elements.

Tamara Goodwin is one of those annoying kids that come from wealth and take it for granted. At 16 her father commits suicide following bankruptcy and Tamara and her emotionally shut down mother are forced to live with relatives in the Irish countryside. Tamara is anything but happy. In a travelling library, she is drawn to a locked journal, which is the book of tomorrow, and she struggles to find her own identity and unearth the family secrets.

This is a novel about the journey into adulthood, about the perils of only living in the now, and about the importance of the past in the definition of self, but Tamara, who is the narrator, got on my nerves. She seems like a snotty brat with poor language and even towards the end of the novel, where there is a noticeable conclusion by the author, she isn’t a sympathetic person.

I found the secondary characters much more interesting. There is the silent or snorting Arthur, his wife the controlling Rosaleen, and the open and quixotic nun Sister Ignatius. They are more nuanced and interesting than Tamara.

The novel has a magical quality with the book of tomorrow – however low key it is kept. It doesn’t have a magical atmosphere like the novels of Alice Hoffmann or one of my recent favorites “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe. Perhaps Cecelia Ahern wanted to keep the story on the realism side of magical realism, or perhaps the inclusion of a magical element was just a dud.

As you see, I’m not overly enthusiastic about “The Book of Tomorrow”. Would I read another book by Cecelia Ahern? Maybe, but I would check it out a little more thoroughly in order to adjust my expectations.

I would recommend “The Book of Tomorrow” to a young reader, who need a book by the pool or while getting over the flu.

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