Customer Reviews for

Is This Tomorrow

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

I read Caroline Leavitt's best selling and critically acclaimed

I read Caroline Leavitt's best selling and critically acclaimed novel Pictures of You a few years ago and became so invested in her characters and story, I couldn't wait to see what she would write next.  It was worth the wait because Is This Tomorrow is a knockout of a...
I read Caroline Leavitt's best selling and critically acclaimed novel Pictures of You a few years ago and became so invested in her characters and story, I couldn't wait to see what she would write next.  It was worth the wait because Is This Tomorrow is a knockout of a novel.
Ava Lark is a divorcee with a twelve-year-old son Lewis. They move to a small suburb near Boston in 1956, where a divorced woman, not to mention a Jewish divorced woman, is looked upon with suspicion.
The only friend she has is a widow, Dot, who has two children Jimmy and Rose. Jimmy, Rose and Lewis are best friends, and Jimmy has a little crush on Ava. Ava is kind to Jimmy and Rose, but when Jimmy goes missing, people (including the police) focus their attention on Ava and the many men (six) she has dated over the past three years.
While the framework of the missing boy propels the storyline, it is the characters of Ava and Lewis who are the heart of this story. Rather than a typical mystery novel, this beautiful book is about what it feels like to be an outsider.
Ava is lonely; the women she works with leave her out of their social activities and the neighborhood women fear that the beautiful Ava will steal their husbands. She dates a musician, and planned to introduce him to Lewis on the day that Jimmy disappeared.
The boyfriend asks Ava to move away with him, but she cannot do that to Lewis. He is devastated by the disappearance of his best friend, and he and Rose spend all their time trying to find out what happened to Jimmy.
Leavitt clearly did a lot of research of the time period. I felt totally immersed in the atmosphere of that time- the fear of Communism, the food they ate, the clucking about Ava being a working woman, the way the neighborhood kids played outside without adult supervision.
The second half of the book moves forward in time, and we see Lewis working as a nurse aide. I just fell in love with Lewis, and my heart ached so much for him. He struggles to find his place in this world, to find someone to love and share his life, but is difficult to get beyond his past.
The mystery of what happens to Jimmy is solved, and how it is solved comes as a shock to many people, myself included.
Leavitt writes beautifully and her turn of phrase really caught my eye. As Lewis gets older, he no longer gives Ava a kiss goodnight."I forgot," he'd tell her in the morning, but he forgot to kiss her more and more, and she found herself collecting those losses like debts that might never be paid."
When Lewis begins to meet his coworkers at a weekly bowling game, he thinks about how little he really knows his friends."It made him wonder how well he really knew John or Mick, or when you thought about it, how well they knew him. When he talked, he shot the breeze about the hospital or Madison. It was all casual, loose as pocket change that never adds up to anything."I think most people at one time or another have felt like an outsider, and so can relate to Ava and Lewis. Leavitt taps into those feelings of loneliness, and brings these characters to vivid life. We feel for  Lewis and are grateful that we don't face the uncertainty that Dot and Rose feel when Jimmy is missing.
It is said that good fiction makes the reader empathetic; if that is true, then Is This Tomorrow is great fiction, for my heart ached for all of the people in this terrific novel, an Indie Next Pick for May.

posted by bookchickdi on May 16, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

I enjoyed reading this book, although it was quite dark at the b

I enjoyed reading this book, although it was quite dark at the beginning. The characters were well drawn and I wanted to find out what was going to happen. The end was a bit disappointing as I felt like the writing became perfunctory in an attempt to quickly explain w...
I enjoyed reading this book, although it was quite dark at the beginning. The characters were well drawn and I wanted to find out what was going to happen. The end was a bit disappointing as I felt like the writing became perfunctory in an attempt to quickly explain what happened. Some parts of the explanations were unlikely occurrences and the enlightenment of one of the main characters was not quite believable given the set of circumstances presented.

posted by JaneReads on July 6, 2013

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  • Posted August 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    When I think of the 1950s I have an ideal picture of what life l

    When I think of the 1950s I have an ideal picture of what life looked like, and impart it did. IS THIS TOMORROW by Caroline Leavitt takes place then but the ideal picture is not what life looked like for Ava and her son, Lewis. Ava was an attractive divorced woman, a Jewish woman, who worked and was raising her twelve year old son alone. Ava trying to give her son the best she could, moved him into a peaceful suburb where doors were left unlocked and the children ran free. The mother and son were outcasts, but were managing. Lewis made good friends with the widows children, Rose and Jimmy. But life became even more complicated when Jimmy goes missing. 




    After becoming adults, Rose and Lewis reconnect trying to figure out what really did happen to Jimmy that night. What they find might just tear them apart.




    IS THIS TOMORROW for me was what my kids were asking, because I couldn't put this novel down! The story is so full of questions and suspense and once you get an answer there are more questions and then even more questions! 




    I was pulled into the lives, the stories, the heartache of all the different characters. The portrayal of mother/son dynamic was fabulously written. I haven't felt so immersed in a story in some time. The change of viewpoint of a number of different characters really just grabbed a hold of me. You didn't feel the jerking of moving from one character to another, Leavitt's writing is flawless. 




    I really had no idea what to expect as far as how the story would end, but I sat there stunned. The tragedy was so...oh wait you don't want me to spoil it for you! 




    I was left not wanting this story to end and I am highly recommending! 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I read Caroline Leavitt's best selling and critically acclaimed

    I read Caroline Leavitt's best selling and critically acclaimed novel Pictures of You a few years ago and became so invested in her characters and story, I couldn't wait to see what she would write next.  It was worth the wait because Is This Tomorrow is a knockout of a novel.
    Ava Lark is a divorcee with a twelve-year-old son Lewis. They move to a small suburb near Boston in 1956, where a divorced woman, not to mention a Jewish divorced woman, is looked upon with suspicion.
    The only friend she has is a widow, Dot, who has two children Jimmy and Rose. Jimmy, Rose and Lewis are best friends, and Jimmy has a little crush on Ava. Ava is kind to Jimmy and Rose, but when Jimmy goes missing, people (including the police) focus their attention on Ava and the many men (six) she has dated over the past three years.
    While the framework of the missing boy propels the storyline, it is the characters of Ava and Lewis who are the heart of this story. Rather than a typical mystery novel, this beautiful book is about what it feels like to be an outsider.
    Ava is lonely; the women she works with leave her out of their social activities and the neighborhood women fear that the beautiful Ava will steal their husbands. She dates a musician, and planned to introduce him to Lewis on the day that Jimmy disappeared.
    The boyfriend asks Ava to move away with him, but she cannot do that to Lewis. He is devastated by the disappearance of his best friend, and he and Rose spend all their time trying to find out what happened to Jimmy.
    Leavitt clearly did a lot of research of the time period. I felt totally immersed in the atmosphere of that time- the fear of Communism, the food they ate, the clucking about Ava being a working woman, the way the neighborhood kids played outside without adult supervision.
    The second half of the book moves forward in time, and we see Lewis working as a nurse aide. I just fell in love with Lewis, and my heart ached so much for him. He struggles to find his place in this world, to find someone to love and share his life, but is difficult to get beyond his past.
    The mystery of what happens to Jimmy is solved, and how it is solved comes as a shock to many people, myself included.
    Leavitt writes beautifully and her turn of phrase really caught my eye. As Lewis gets older, he no longer gives Ava a kiss goodnight."I forgot," he'd tell her in the morning, but he forgot to kiss her more and more, and she found herself collecting those losses like debts that might never be paid."
    When Lewis begins to meet his coworkers at a weekly bowling game, he thinks about how little he really knows his friends."It made him wonder how well he really knew John or Mick, or when you thought about it, how well they knew him. When he talked, he shot the breeze about the hospital or Madison. It was all casual, loose as pocket change that never adds up to anything."I think most people at one time or another have felt like an outsider, and so can relate to Ava and Lewis. Leavitt taps into those feelings of loneliness, and brings these characters to vivid life. We feel for  Lewis and are grateful that we don't face the uncertainty that Dot and Rose feel when Jimmy is missing.
    It is said that good fiction makes the reader empathetic; if that is true, then Is This Tomorrow is great fiction, for my heart ached for all of the people in this terrific novel, an Indie Next Pick for May.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Curious

    Would you recremend this book to a young teen?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2013

    I enjoyed reading this book, although it was quite dark at the b

    I enjoyed reading this book, although it was quite dark at the beginning. The characters were well drawn and I wanted to find out what was going to happen. The end was a bit disappointing as I felt like the writing became perfunctory in an attempt to quickly explain what happened. Some parts of the explanations were unlikely occurrences and the enlightenment of one of the main characters was not quite believable given the set of circumstances presented.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2013

    Divorced, mother, and a Jew in 1954 are all working against Ava

    Divorced, mother, and a Jew in 1954 are all working against Ava Lark.  She moves to Boston with her son Lewis and he becomes friends with a brother and sister, Jimmy and Rose.  One afternoon Jimmy goes missing.  The neighbors turn on Rose and Lewis.  Rose and her mother, Dottie, move away leaving Lewis friendless.  Years later Rose and Lewis reconnect and go about solving the mysteries of their childhood.  Will these secrets keep them together or tear their lives apart?




    Is This Tomorrow is a mystery with a lot of suspense.  The suspense made me keep reading but the mystery of Jimmy’s disappearance kept me up late at night.




    Caroline Leavitt made characters that I could relate to and care about.  I wanted to live next to Ava and Lewis so I could be her friend, a friend she desperately needed.  Lewis needs someone to keep an eye on him when Ava was working.  I could have been that person.  I would have been there for Jimmy and then his family.  While reading I was lost in the neighborhood seeing myself living there.  I wonder what they would be doing now.   How their lives have turned out.  Did they move past Jimmy’s disappearance, but never forgetting?




    This novel shows how people’s prejudices against others can affect their lived.  It shows the strength and determination a mother can have and how she can give her family the best life and succeed.  I high recommend this amazing novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Another marvelous book from C. Leavitt

    A sixth grader disappears in broad daylight from a 1950s Boston suburb in “Is This Tomorrow” and everyone is brought to a standstill by shock, grief and suspicion. The police investigate, but not thoroughly enough for anyone’s expectations. Even divorcee, Ava Lark, comes under scrutiny, just because she is single, Jewish, working, and the missing boy (her son’s best friend) spent time at her house. Everybody that knew the missing boy, Jimmy, even in passing, is questioned without success. He seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. Neighborhood watches are organized, the woods are searched, parents walk the children back and forth to school, ‘stranger’ warnings are issued. Everyone is in denial; nobody wants to think the worst. His sister and best friend even choose to believe that Jimmy just left – that he went to a wonderful place on their ‘travel map’ – the route they had promised to take together when they got older. Time passes and people adjust to the idea that Jimmy is gone. The friends and neighbors promise never to forget, to keep looking, but to most of the world, Jimmy becomes ‘the boy who went missing.’ But, not to his sister Rose, and his best friend, Lewis. Not even to Ava. Their world has been changed forever by Jimmy’s disappearance. We observe that changed world through Ava’s eyes, and then Lewis and Rose’s, in painful and insightful ways for years after the terrible day. Leavitt explores the attitudes of society toward divorcees and the limited options available to all women in the 1950s and 1960s, truths still echoing today. In “Is This Tomorrow,” Ava struggles to make ends meet and feels adrift, loving her son, but not knowing how to help him or herself in a culture that perceives her as damaged goods. Lewis blames her for his father’s absence; Rose blames her own mother for not doing more to help herself after Jimmy goes missing. The ache is palpable. The story unfolds as the children and the adults deal with paralyzing guilt and surprising revelations, both about Jimmy and themselves. As moments in that long ago day are relived through several character’s eyes and what-if scenarios are rehashed, we see how one person’s clueless stupidity can send a ripple of destruction in every direction. Even worse, the selfish reactions to that stupidity can cause even more harm, when kept secret for so long. The children in “Is This Tomorrow” are drawn so well – their interactions, their need to belong, their missteps in social situations, their craving for an intact family. I knew kids like this in my teaching days, listened to their stories. While the topics discussed are challenging and serious, there is growth and change in circumstances, as well as triumph along the way in this memorable novel. Well done, Ms. Leavitt. (Review by Patti Phillips)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    Recommend

    A riveting story. Well written and maintains attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    Very good book

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The character development is excellent, and the plot kept me wanting to read. I also liked that all loose ends were realistically tied up. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Good book but not believable ?

    I thought the explanation of what happened was bizare and not believable at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    good book

    So refreshing to read a great story with good character development and interesting plot twists. I especially like that it was not focused on romance

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Set in 1956 wit

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    Set in 1956 with a central character that is living life definitely against the grain in the current time - a divorced single mom who is in the workforce and trying to raise her son in suburbia.  One would say this could be historical fiction and I may agree because it is definitely not completely contemporary, but I enjoyed reading a story where I could imagine a woman getting heat for her lifestyle, it could compare to current social issues in the news.  Her son's best friend goes missing and the story takes off after that! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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