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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Hi there readers!
Happy Monday to you.
Usually today is used to ease ourselves into the coming week and we relax with a Mailbox post (or in my case “Shopping Bag” post)…but not today.  Why?  To put it simply, this review could not wait another day and no it’s not just because it’s the last day of February either (though it will complete my TBR for the month…*yessssss*), it’s because it was just THAT good.  Curious about which book I speak?  Allow me to end your wait.  Today’s book of choice is…


Tamara Goodwin has it all…or rather had before her life took an unexpected detour to “I-wish-I-wasn’t-here”-ville.  Living the life with family and friends, her days were spent in school, but her nights and weekends were for partying, jet setting, and living it up on the town until one day all the glitz and the glamour fell away to reveal a frightening truth that would shake her world to its core.  It seems that while everything on the surface looked ordinary, trouble was brewing dark and deep, in this case…money trouble.  Her father did his best to take care of it all but when things finally got the best of him; he sought the only exit he could see before it all came tumbling down around them. 

His rash actions did not leave behind the intended results as his widow and child were now forced from their (non) humble abode and into the waiting arms of Arthur and Rosaleen Byrne…her mother’s brother and his wife.  But things are not always what they seem, my dear friends as Tamara is soon to discover.  Though the grounds are majestic, the house quaint, and the hospitality welcoming, she can sense an undercurrent of secrets and lies….just what or whom they are about though is anyone’s guess or at least it was until a certain book came into her life.  This wasn’t just any book though; this was a journal and it held a special magic all its own.  The question is will Tamara discover the secrets it truly holds before it’s too late?

What to say about this one without giving away the story!  It left me in quite a quandary after I finished it.  I mean…it’s just…how to put it…oh, here.  Let’s get Rhino from Bolt to explain my general feelings.  Rhino…if you’d please….

Really!  There is no better way to describe it.  This was my first adventure into this author’s work, though I had previously seen her book turned movie P.S. I Love You.  For those that haven’t had the pleasure, it’s a heart wrenching tale of a love that knows no boundaries…even death…and the lengths to which one man will go to be certain his departure does not floor his love (as in the girl) for life.  It’s beautiful.  It’s memorable.  It’s definitely one to have a box of tissues at the ready because you WILL cry.  It’s not a guess…it’s a fact, trust me. 

Right after seeing this film, I rushed out and bought the book that inspired it as well as an additional title or two written by this author, but…that’s where the love affair ended.  As so often (and easily) happens to us avid readers, I was distracted by something new and shiny and away these titles went to somewhere within the beast I fondly refer to as Mount TBR.  Are they lost for good with no hope of ever seeing the light of day?  Nope…and after this amazing read, I’m fairly certain they’ll turn up sooner as opposed to later.   

When I saw this title being promoted, I was immediately taken aback by the cover art.  Go ahead.  Take another look.  *waits*  Beautiful isn’t it?  It’s not that there is something dramatic going on or a dizzying amount of patterns to contend with; it’s the simple beauty that speaks to the ever curious soul.  I mean just look at the colors…great choice...and that added detail where it looks like the page is being turned to reveal something sparkly and magical...perfect.  Now I have an ARC copy and I’m enthralled by it but I might just have to get a hardbound copy of the book after seeing it in store because as beautiful as this one is….its even MORE lovely and comes complete with a ribbon bookmark like those leather clad classics of old.  Marvelous.  As for the genre choice…

This book is toted as Fiction but would be just as at home on the Young Adult shelf (and with readers of the genre) seeing as how our lead character is a young lady of sixteen years (or is that seventeen…no sixteen…no seventeen…<-- that’ll make sense after you read it).  The concerns that probably landed it in the “adult” section are few (some language here and there with teen outbursts…one scene sensual in nature…death) especially when compared to the plethora of other YA books with much more “worldly” content.  It’s one of those cases where I truly hope that the categorization of the novel doesn’t cut it off from I’ve seen that happen before with a title I truly loved…originally it was in the same situation, but luckily upon the paperback’s release, it was sitting firmly on the YA shelf…whew!  Now let’s talk story…

Aside from the beautiful (I know, I’m using that word a lot here, but it’s certainly warranted) descriptions of time and place that draw forth images AND emotion in one sweep of the eyes, the characters are completely tangible.  Tamara was the snarky little sixteen year old feeling like a duck out of water due to her family’s quick move and change in lifestyle…not to mention the death of her father...always looking for something more.  What she didn’t know is that some of the very things she was looking for were right in front of her the whole time, just rather well hidden by others keeping a VERY big secret. 

Her mother, though seemingly lost in her own mind, has her moments of lucidity but instead of them being reassuring, they just add to the already heightened sense you have that something is not quite right (in a good way though).  Arthur and Rosaleen, while they certainly mean well, it’s obvious who wears the pants in the family (so to speak)…as is who is stable and who is not…O_O.  Both of our young male love interests are written as half delinquent, half prince….Marcus, from the book bus just gets a bit more trouble than he bargained for while Weseley acts as Tamara’s partner in crime for many scenes later on.  Let’s not forget about Sister Ignatius in all of this because really, she is in all of this more so than we know.  Together they make an unusual family portrait to be certain but a family of sorts nonetheless based on their connections to each other through blood and acquaintance.  So let’s talk details…

I bet you’re wondering if there is an actual “book of tomorrow” in the I right?  Fear not fair readers, there is though perhaps not as you might anticipate.  Though its appearance has significance and it certainly plays its part in moving the story along in surprising ways, I was left wondering about the books actual origins.  Where did it come from?  Who had it before?  Where was it when all the lies and secrets were being concocted?  It sure could’ve saved this family a lot of grief…and one of them a bit of their sanity, though I couldn’t tell you how much since they are pretty far gone despite outward appearances.

Another aspect of the book that garnered my attention was the book bus.  What a fabulous idea for the mere fact that it helps bring literature to those families that are either without or far away from a library (the horror…)…and it doesn’t hurt that the young driver is rather dashing himself.  Hello, Marcus!  Though things get a bit sticky for this character later on, he has a heart of gold and the way he tries to take Tamara’s mind off her troubles with a “trip” to foreign lands will leave bookish readers with one question…can I have a “Marcus” too please?  (Seriously!  I have to find out where to find one…) 

For as much beauty as there is though, there’s also plenty of mystery, secrets dark and buried deep, and…humor.  No really…in the strangest of places you’ll happen upon a passage that you just can’t help but smile, laugh, or downright guffaw at.  Take this one as Tamara recounts an encounter with some construction folks installing her family’s pool…
There was one guy, Steve, who kept trying to get a look at me in my bedroom while I was getting dressed.  So one morning I really gave him something to look at.  Don’t get the wrong impression; I took three hairpieces and pinned them to my bikini – you can guess where – and I took off my bathrobe and paraded around my room like Chewbacca, pretending I didn’t know he was looking.  – pg 37 (ARC)

I’ll allow you a moment to compose yourself although I know it’s going to be very hard (hehe).  I mean you can actually picture her doing this and well…you just get lost in the moment and laugh yourself silly; a big “no no” to Steve but a big “you go girl” to Tamara.  I could literally quote at least one passage from each chapter and it would never get old…though I won’t to save you the trouble of reading it here and then once again in the actual book. 

In the end, I believe it’s clear…I LOVED this book.  It was surprising and beautiful (there’s that word again) in all the right ways and I can’t recommend it enough.  There is one warning that I will pass on to you readers, the last chapters are a DOOZY.  There is so much to absorb you may find yourself rereading a section or two, but don’t worry…it ties everything together quite nicely.  Trust me.

ARC for review won via contest featured in the Shelf-Awareness newsletter courtesy of HarperCollins.  (THANKS!)  For more bookish news than you can shake a bookmark at, fell free to check out the Shelf-Awareness site, Twitter feed and don’t forget to sign up for your very own copy of the newsletter delivered each weekday!  For more information on this particular title as well as other great books not to be missed, visit HarperCollins online at their site, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.  Last but not least we have the prolific author, Ms. Cecelia Ahern.  More about her works both past and present can be found at her website….including an excerpt of this very book should you be curious to take a little literary spin.

Until next time…happy reading!


(Arya) Paige said...

Wonderful review! (As always!) You always make me giggle. =P And the cover of this book is sooo pretty!


Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

You are always so creative with your reviews. The purple and gold colors are marvelous on the cover. I have not read any of her work. Will add to my TBR

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Why do I get the feeling you thought this book was awesome?

Gina said...

Arya: Aw, thanks! Happy to share a bookish smile and laugh. ^_^ Agreed on the cover...fabulous.

Cleverly Inked: *big smile* Thank you! Fantastic that you're adding it to your TBR....would love to see what you think once you finish it. Happy reading!

Petty Witter: Mind reader? (LOL... ^_^)

Julie said...

This looks really good! The cover is really pretty. Almost magical. I like the idea for the book bus, too. I loved the movie P.S. I Love You. Great review!

Unknown said...

If you thought the film version of PS I Love You was good, you really need to read the book, it's 1000 times better than the film. You'll love it.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Wow. This sounds awesome.

For some reason, I didn't realize it was from the same author of PS I Love you.

BTW, I saw Bolt this weekend and fell in love with it. Rhino rocks.

Gina said...

Julie: Totally is and then some. Thanks for your kind words! ^_^

Louise: Thanks for the recommendation! Definitely checking it out soon... ^_^

Juju: It was! Yep...same author...which means possibly more awesome reading adventures ahead. Agreed on Bolt, it was definitely a cute film....but Rhino definitely rocks his own hamster ball. LOL. ^_^

Alexia561 said...

So...don't hold back..what did you really think of the book? *grin*

So glad to hear that you loved it! And you really need to read her other books, especially PS I Love You! That one made me cry!

Love. love, love your reviews! :D

The1stdaughter said...

Okay seriously, you rock! I LOVE this review! You are beyond hilarious, it's marvelous!

I adored this book for so many of the same reasons. There's just so much to enjoy! I love your chewbacca picture...LOL That scene was hilarious! And oh how I loved the book bus, wouldn't that be fantastic? Of course it needs the hot guy to accompany it, but really...where can we get one of those?

Such a fabulous read and review! I really need to watch PS I love you know...well, I should probably read it too. Hehe. Did you know she has a new short story out? I'm really eager to try it out as well!

The1stdaughter said...

Oh! And how could I forget Bolt's buddy Rhino??? By far the best sidekick ever!!! Love that little hamster! (I should know, I think I've seen the movie well over a couple dozen times! LOL)

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