by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)
". . . fiction was a myth. Fictional stories, that is. Maybe there were bad ones out there, but the good ones, the good ones—those were always true. Not the facts, not the rights and the lefts, not the plots, which could take place in outer space or in hell or anywhere in between, but the feelings. The feelings were the truth."
Emma Straub's This Time Tomorrow (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm) exceeded all of my expectations. Time travel premises can, in my experience, go wrong pretty quickly, but Straub deploys the premise here with such expertise that it was a joy to read.
Alice is turning 40. Her father, Leonard, is on his deathbed in the hospital; changes at work are imminent; and her relationship is . . . fine. She has two constants: her best-friend-since-high-school Sam and the private school she attended and where she now works.
She's making her way through each day until, suddenly, she wakes up back in her teenage body on her sixteenth birthday, and she feels as if she may have the power to make some changes, to save her dad, to take some of the risks that she was too afraid to take before.
"Maybe that was the trick to life: to notice all the tiny moments in the day when everything else fell away and, for a split second, or maybe even a few seconds, you had no worries, only pleasure, only appreciation of what was right in front of you. Transcendental meditation, maybe, but with hot dogs and the knowledge that everything would change, the good and the bad, and so you might as well appreciate the good."
Those are the basics, but the beauty of this book lies in its details. Alice herself is such a compelling character who is reflective and thoughtful and loyal. Her dad is an author, and there's a love of story that runs through the book that is just beautiful. I loved Alice's relationship with Leonard, who raised her as a single father and is so much a part of who she became. Her friendship with Sam is also a strong foundation for the book, another constant that she can count on.
To say much more would take away the joy of discovering this one for yourself, but I urge you to pick it up as soon as you can.
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