Sixteen-year-old Tamara Goodwin experiences an abrupt life change after her dad commits suicide, leaving his business and finances in shambles. Tamara and her mother Jennifer are forced to vacate their lavish home in Dublin and move in with Jennifer’s brother Arthur and his wife Rosaleen, who live in a small gatehouse in the countryside, miles from Tamara’s luxurious and spoiled former life.
Tamara feels “cast out,” forced to live with people she barely knows, and trying to understand why her grieving mother has become so depressed she doesn’t even leave her room—Rosaleen brings Jennifer’s meals upstairs and keeps Tamara away as much as possible. So Tamara strikes out on her own, and meets an odd mix of characters including Sister Ignatius, a somewhat mysterious nun; Marcus, the handsome young man who drives a traveling library truck; and an invisible soul who leaves presents in odd places for Tamara to discover.
In her growing list of novels, Cecelia Ahern has increasingly included magical elements, and The Book of Tomorrow is no exception. This time it’s a diary that Tamara discovers in the library truck. At first its pages are blank—but soon they begin describing, in Tamara’s own handwriting, what will happen to her in the future, giving her a real “book of tomorrow.” She is thus able to alter her actions to change a negative occurrence—and she begins to solve such mysteries as why Rosaleen keeps her mother in her room, and who is the mysterious inhabitant of the bungalow across the road who seems to be watching her, always just out of sight.
Ahern’s latest is an intriguing look at how a young girl deals with her father’s death and the accompanying changes in her rarified life. The magical elements seem extraneous to the plot, however, tacked on to the story but never really part of it. Still, fans of Ahern’s earlier novels will no doubt enjoy her most recent entry in the young-damsel-in-distress genre, and its winning protagonist, Tamara Goodwin.