Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review: "The Book of Tomorrow" by Cecelia Ahern

Summary from BN.com: Born into the lap of luxury, sixteen-year-old Tamara Goodwin has never had to look to tomorrow, until the abrupt death of her father leaves her and her mother a mountain of debt and forces them to move in with Tamara's peculiar aunt and uncle in a tiny countryside village. Lonely and bored, Tamara's only diversion is a traveling library. There she finds a large leather-bound book with a gold clasp and padlock. Intrigued, she pries the lock open, and what she finds inside takes her breath away.

Tamara sees entries written in her handwriting and dated for the next day, and when they happen exactly as recorded, she realizes she may have found the solution to her problems. But Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she might, she can't interfere with fate.

Believe it or not this was my first Cecelia Ahern book. I know, she's HUGE in chick lit and as a chick lit fan, I'm not sure why I haven't read any of her other books before. I do own most of them, they're just in that huge TBR pile I need to get to.

Tamara is first introduced to the reader as a spoiled rich teenage girl who got away with everything and had everything she wanted, until her father's suicide. She and her mother, who has become depressed and withdrawn, are sent to live with family because her father's debts have made it impossible to keep up their lifestyle. While there, Tamara butts heads with her aunt who seems too overprotective, too nosy and too mysterious. Desperate to get away, she runs into a traveling library where she discovers a book that tells of her own secrets...but today. Because of that book, Tamara sets off on discovering the past. Who really are these relatives she's staying with? What is really going on with her mother? What secrets do the walls of the place that they are staying at hold? Who is she really? There's so much mystery in the book that it's impossible to not be intrigued by the story. I got sucked in immediately and wanted to find out all the secrets just as Tamara did. I didn't find the storyline to be predictable at all.

I seriously felt at times like I was reading a gothic mystery akin to Northanger Abbey or Jane Eyre. Being set in an Irish countryside, isolated, with relatives you don't know, with secrets about the house and its inhabitants make for a good story. The overall ending is a little sad at all the love that is lost when everything is revealed. However, it fits with the rest of the book and answered all the questions that I and Tamara both had.

My only qualm is that while the book does play an important role, it's not nearly as big as I thought it would be. It's also never fully explained as to why it contains what it does but I guess that is the magic realism in the story that must be accepted. This book can be very easily classified as a modern day YA gothic mystery with magic realism. It's a wonderful blend of all those elements and I really found myself lost in the story. It took all my willpower not to turn to the end of the book to solve the mystery and figure out everything that was going on. I really loved the characters and I loved seeing Tamara grow and mature as the story progressed. I read this book in one sitting simply because I could not put it down. If Ahern's other books are anything like this, I am diving into my pile to try to find them now. Simply put, it's really brilliant and an excellent story to boot. One of my favorite reads of the new year. HIGHLY recommended.

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern is published by Harper (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher

5 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read this book! :)

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  2. I haven't read her either but I think I might try this one.

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  3. I loved this one too!

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  4. Just finished this story. It was indeed a good story although I would have liked more after discovering Laurie and learning the truth. I thought it wrapped up rather quickly.

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  5. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Beautiful book on the outside, nasty language on the inside. Returned for full refund. Don't waste my time with foul language. Too many excellent authors with real talent out there to read.

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