14 November 2009

Book Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

16 year old Tamara Goodwin had it all - a loving set of parents, a huge house, enough money to buy whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it. But when she finds her father dead in his office and uncovers a huge load debts that he was hiding from her and her mother, Tamara's world comes crashing down around her. She's forced to leave her beloved home and move in with her mother's brother Arthur and his wife Rosaleen who are a tad strange to say the least.

Tamara hates living in the back of beyond with no shops around or social life to speak of. When the travelling library pays a visit, Tamara decides to give it a go, and uncovers an unusual book. It's got no author or title, and it's locked too. Eventually Tamara manages to get the lock open and is shocked to her core by what she finds inside the pages. The book seems to be telling her what's going to happen in her life tomorrow... but can Tamara believe it?

This is one of the year's biggest releases in the world of Chick Lit in my opinion - Cecelia Ahern has really hit the big time with her writing since the success of her debut novel PS... I Love You written a few years ago now. Since then, she's been bringing out magical books one after the other, and The Book of Tomorrow is her latest release. I didn't like Cecelia's debut at all, although I loved the film, and then last year I devoured her Christmassy-themed book The Gift and adored it so was hoping for similar feelings toward this book. I finally got my copy from the library a few days ago and sat down to enjoy this book.

It begins with a rather long narrative giving us the background to Tamara and her family troubles. As well as this information, we get a lot of talk of Kilkaney Castle and the history of it which I felt really dragged down the book even though it was right at the beginning. I was almost tempted to start skim reading this part as I didn't feel it was enjoyable and just bored me to be honest. I wanted the crux of the story to begin, that is the part where Tamara discovers the magical book. It took a long while but eventually it got there, but I just couldn't shake off the feeling that the beginning really hindered my initial enjoyment of the book.

The character of Tamara was another strange one for me. She's only 16, so much younger than the target audience of this book which is a bit of a strange thing of Ahern to choose to do, but I did still find her to be a good lead character, and the story was well centred around her. She leads the plot well, and it's written in the first person so you really get to know Tamara's thoughts and feelings on everything that happens. Because she is 16, some of it feels immature and a bit blown out of proportion but I suppose it works to contradict the more magical element and Tamara's belief in that even though it seems impossible.

For me though, it was the other characters of the book that made it so readable. Aunt Rosaleen and Uncle Arthur were  very intriguing, you know something is up between the two but it's not right until the end that you find out what it is, and it did take me by surprise, I hadn't expected it at all! I really enjoyed the way Ahern had written Rosaleen, a strange and almost sinister presence in Tamara's life, and it definitely kept the mystery alive in the book. Tamara's mother was a bit lacklustre, but that is the nature of her story, so consequently I didn't care much for her either way. Sister Ignatius was my other favourite, a funny old nun that Tamara befriends, and the relationship between the pair was very touching.

As always with Cecelia Ahern's book, you do have to suspend your belief because it is almost like a fairytale for grown ups. I don't usually like this sort of thing, but Ahern's writing really pulls you in and you are desperate to find out how it is all going to pan out for these characters and their strange discovery. I found that towards the end, the magical book element does take a backseat to the other plot threads which was a shame, but overall the magic book story was well done. It could have done with coming in to the story much sooner so my attention was more focused, but otherwise I think this is a very good read that will be a great Winter Warmer this year. If you've enjoyed Ahern's other books, you'll like this, but I still prefer The Gift!

Rating: 4/5


  1. Great review. I said in my review as well that I still preferred the Gift. This one was good, don't get me wrong, but not as good in my opinion. Unlike you I really enjoyed the beginning.

    Good book, but I wouldn't rave about it the way Bookalicious did. It definitely wouldn't be in my top 20 books this year. I've read better. I've enjoyed it but it lacked the magic of the gift, a place called here and if you could see me now. x

  2. Ooh, I absolutely ADORED this book and Tamara has to be one of my all-time favourite characters, I loved her and her sassy ways! But I agree, the supporting characters were fantastic too and Sister Ignatius nearly stole the show according the everyone's reviews, haha! I can't possibly imagine any of Cecelia's book being better than THIS, but I'll certainly give them a try eventually. But really, I could rave about this book forever, it was nearly perfect imho!
    ps: I'll be adding your review and Leah's to my post on the book! :)

  3. I've only read PS I Love You, but I enjoyed that one, and my mum likes all her other books. I might give this one a try! Thanks for the review.

  4. i still prefered The Gift. The beginning of story is dragging me down.