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November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"

Is This Tomorrow: Book Review

By Wendy Robards

Is This Tomorrow, by Caroline Leavitt.

She watched Jimmy sprint out of her house. He tore out across her lawn, crossed the street, and veered to the left toward his home, two houses down, a yellow ranch house with white shutters. When he got to the door, he turned and waved with both hands, grinning. Later, that's what she told the police. How happy he was. How he smiled. - from Is This Tomorrow -

Ava Lark and her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, are living in a Boston suburb in 1956. Ava is divorced and works hard to provide for Lewis whose father is no longer in the picture. She tries to make friends in her small neighborhood, but the fact that she is Jewish and unmarried isolates her. Jimmy and Rose are the kids next door and they and Lewis have formed a solid friendship. But one afternoon, Jimmy goes missing and suddenly Ava and Lewis fall under suspicion. Despite Lewis and Rose's strong bond, when Rose and her mother move out of state, the two close friends lose contact with each other.

Years later, Ava still lives in her little neighborhood, Lewis has moved to the midwest where he is working as a nurse's aid, and Rose has created a new life for herself as a teacher in Michigan. The mystery of Jimmy's disappearance has touched them all. When something happens that reunites Rose and Lewis, the trauma of that dark day is reignited and forces both young adults to answer some hard questions: What happens when someone you love disappears? Are some mysteries better left unsolved? Should we go back to our pasts to find healing for the future?

Is This Tomorrow is a novel about love and loss. And it is about navigating the rough waters of adolescence and growing up after a heartbreaking tragedy. Caroline Leavitt creates memorable, empathetic characters and sets them down in mid-century America just outside an iconic city.

Ava is a woman who grew up in an era of stay at home mothers and the pressure of being the perfect wife. She is forced to evolve and change when her marriage fails and must rely on her courage to care for her young son and make her way in a society which is largely judgmental about her ethnicity. The kids in the story -- Rose, Jimmy and Lewis -- represent the innocence of kids growing up in a time when neighborhoods felt safe.

The cataclysmic event of a missing child is the conflict which blows apart relationships and challenges each character's view of the world.

Leavitt is skilled at creating a novel filled with tension, but also allows the characters to drive the plot. Is This Tomorrow is a haunting tale of literary suspense with a bit of a surprise ending that will break the reader's heart.

Readers who love family-centered stories with well developed characters will enjoy this book.


★ ★ ★ ★

  • Rating System

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Excellent
★ ★ ★ ★ = Good/Very Good
★ ★ ★ = Okay read
★ ★ = Not recommended
★ = Ugh! Don't waste your time.

Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".


Article © Wendy Robards. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-03-31
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