Is This Tomorrow

Is This Tomorrow

4.0 16
by Caroline Leavitt, Xe Sands

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It’s 1956, and working-mother Ava Lark and her son, Lewis, have rented a house in a less-than-welcoming Boston suburb. There, Lewis finds he is only able to befriend the other fatherless kids on the block, Jimmy and Rose. But when Jimmy goes missing, neighborhood paranoia ramps to new heights, further ostracizing Ava and Lewis.

Lewis never recovers from the


It’s 1956, and working-mother Ava Lark and her son, Lewis, have rented a house in a less-than-welcoming Boston suburb. There, Lewis finds he is only able to befriend the other fatherless kids on the block, Jimmy and Rose. But when Jimmy goes missing, neighborhood paranoia ramps to new heights, further ostracizing Ava and Lewis.

Lewis never recovers from the loss of his childhood friend. In his twenties, he is a failure in love, living without direction, estranged from his mother. When Jimmy’s disappearance is unexpectedly solved, however, Lewis, Rose, and Ava are thrown together once more to try to untangle the remaining pieces of the puzzle and reclaim something of what they have lost.

Editorial Reviews

“Leavitt has a way of crafting the loveliest novels out of tragedy. . . . It’s her examination of loss, grief, and disappointment that will engross readers.”

“Compelling work explores how a tragedy casts a shadow. . . . Life isn’t always what we expect, a fact that is thoughtfully explored in this beautifully rendered tale.”

Vanity Fair
“This tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore.”
Library Journal [HC starred review]

Mixed Media Reviews
“Compelling work explores how a tragedy casts a shadow. . . . Life isn’t always what we expect, a fact that is thoughtfully explored in this beautifully rendered tale.”

From the Publisher
Vanity Fair

“Xe Sands has a talent for capturing the essence of the characters in Leavitt’s story. . . . [Her] performance subtly evokes the varied personalities of adolescent boys, the wistful longing of a youthful divorcée, the lazy drawl of a jazz musician, the anxiety of frantic parents, and the judgmental overtones of nosy neighbors.”
AudioFile [Earphones Award Winner]

“The audio version . . . enhanced the tension and anticipation.”
Mixed Media Reviews

Library Journal
Leavitt (Pictures of You) sets this novel in Eisenhower-era Massachusetts. On a fateful day in 1956, 12-year-old Lewis has a dentist appointment. Later that afternoon, he meets his neighbor 13-year-old Rose, and they are very late in coming home. When they arrive, the police are there. Everyone is at first relieved that the kids are safe, but then they realize that Rose’s 12-year-old brother Jimmy is missing. Narrator and voice artist Xe Sands brings a rather husky, careworn quality to this narration. The book has an unfinished feel to it as the young protagonists have only just started their adult lives at novel’s end.

Verdict Of interest to Leavitt fans and those who enjoy the challenges of fiction portraying dysfunctional families. [“Leavitt sets out to portray a repressive society and the way it stifles a sympathetic heroine who is oblivious to the social ramifications of her string of former boyfriends. Although the backstory at times dissipates the tension, this tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore,” read the starred review of the Algonquin hc, LJ 4/1/13.—Ed.]—David Faucheux Louisiana Audio Information & Reading Svcs., Lafayette
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

HighBridge Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged; 13.25 hours
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Sue Monk Kidd
“With wit and a perfect eye into the human heart, Caroline Leavitt has given us a truly unique story of love, loyalty, loss, betrayal, secrets, healing.”
—Sue Monk Kidd, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees

Jodi Picoult
“Exquisite. . . . with characters so real they feel technicolor, a plot that beats like a racing pulse, and prose so lovely that sometimes I found myself repeating the words out loud.”
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Lone Wolf

Meet the Author

Caroline Leavitt is the award-winning author of eight novels. Her essays and stories have been included in New York magazine, Psychology Today, More, Parenting, Redbook, and Salon. She’s a columnist for the Boston Globe, a book reviewer for People, and a writing instructor at UCLA online.

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Is This Tomorrow 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
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! 
Aelius More than 1 year ago
There's past tense and future tense, and then there's Leavitt-tense. Leavitt-tense is when the main storyline so seamlessly intertwines with backstory that the reader can't remember how it is they have come to know these characters so deeply. All they know is that they have. Is This Tomorrow is a mystery with suspense enough. A child goes missing and his community struggles to carry on with no answers as to why or how. Were this story to include only the linear plotline, it would be as gripping. But Leavitt isn't the kind of author who goes for suspense alone. Leavitt's real strength lies in the characters. Flawed, scared and sometimes deceitful, these characters are your brother, your parents, your children, and perhaps even you. This is why Leavitt's plots can never stop at suspenseful and always move on to haunting. The 1950's setting is pitch-perfect. You can practically feel the uneven shaggy carpeting of Eve's house under your toes and taste the warming nutmeg in her pies. And you can smell the animosity that this Norman Rockwell-type community feels for a divorced Jewish mother who dares to date and has to work. Is This Tomorrow is a gem. And (hopefully) a future film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PattiBascomb More than 1 year ago
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)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
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.
SherreyM More than 1 year ago
The opening pages of Is This Tomorrow? took me back to my childhood neighborhood, my chums on my street, the adults who cared about us, the 1950s in general. Images of clothing, household furnishings, and transportation are described in detail and with clarity. Caroline Leavitt is an author whose writing I have previously enjoyed, and this was no exception. Ava, a Jewish divorcee, doesn't fit into the neighborhood's demographics. Raising a son on her own doesn't make life any easier. Yet the children in the neighborhood find Ava's home a welcome spot to visit. Harmless and loving, Ava treats them all the same. The tragedy in the story is the reason behind some of the children's visits to Ava's--something is lacking at home. Leavitt, I believe, points out clearly a turning in our society in the 1950s and 1960s to the busyness of the parental component and a loss for our children leaving them seeking a place of acceptance and comfort. And so begins the story of Jimmy, a boy who goes missing on this quiet neighborhood street. A variety of suspicions arise, similar to those we hear on the news today, and Ava finds herself caught up in the middle of the whirling minds of her neighbors. Jimmy was best friends with Ava's son, Lewis, and both are deeply affected by Jimmy's disappearance. Jimmy's sister, Rose, forms an alliance with Lewis and they promise each other they will find Jimmy. What follows is a page-turning, well written story of mystery, intrigue, and modern-day profiling. Leavitt never lets her readers down, and she once again amazes with the story's ending. Recommendation: Fans of Leavitt will likely have read Is This Tomorrow? or will pick it up out of habit. Those who haven't read Leavitt before should make this one of their first Leavitt reads. Mystery lovers, aficionados of the 1950s and 1960s, and those who love good stories well told will enjoy Is This Tomorrow? Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are solely mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A riveting story. Well written and maintains attention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the explanation of what happened was bizare and not believable at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would you recremend this book to a young teen?
JaneReads More than 1 year ago
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.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
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! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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