I recently visited one of my favorite local independent bookstores, Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, MN. I love visiting when I am in the area, and I am always drawn to the 25% off bestseller shelf where I found this beauty. I also picked up some books for the kiddos and there happened to be a Where's Waldo event going on where local businesses hid a Waldo in their shops and if you find 20 of them, you are entered to win prizes. How fun! All the more reason to #shoplocal and #supportindependentbookstores. You can't get that with Amazon, just saying....
While there, I treated myself to a new book and picked up This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. Drawn by the beautiful cover and the time travel plot, and the fact it was 25% off.... I love a deal! This Time Tomorrow is a magical realism plotline about being content and appreciative with the live you are given. I loved the characters, storyline and the messaging.
On the evening of her fortieth birthday, Alice is reflecting on her life. She has a good job, a boyfriend she cares about, she lives in a city she adores, but something is missing. Her father is sick, and he doesn't have much time left. How did life change so quickly? When she wakes up the next morning, Alice is back in 1996, the morning of her 16th birthday. Her dad is young and healthy, and Alice has a new perspective on life that only comes with age. Going back in time, means having the opportunity to change the future, and it also means an opportunity to appreciate life.
I really loved this book. The time travel aspect was fun and the tie in with Alice's father's author career was a fun addition. Alice is hard not to love. She knows who she is and what she wants out of life. She may not fit the stereotypical mold of what a 40-year-old woman should be or should have accomplished, but she does not care. What matters to her is appreciating the last days with her father. When she time travels back to her 16th birthday, she makes different decisions to see if the end result is her father being healthy in the present. (You'll have to read the book to find out how that goes. No spoilers!)
At first, I felt like the confidence Alice exuded in high school felt far-fetched, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Like most teens, I was highly insecure, but armed with the confidence that comes with age, I am sure I would be the same if I time traveled back to my 16th birthday. I loved reading what changes she made in the past and seeing how it impacted the future. Overall, the messaging of appreciating the life you are given was one that we can all appreciate.
This Time Tomorrow is like a cross between a backwards 13 Going on 30 and The Butterfly Effect (but much, much less horror.) Even if magical realism isn't your thing, you can suspend enough disbelief to truly enjoy this story. I do not buy books often and am picky about what I keep on my shelves, but I am glad I have a copy of this book to grace my shelves.
"....the knowledge that everything would change, the good and the bad, and so you might as well appreciate the good."
"Things were always changing, even when they didn't feel like it. Alice wondered if no one ever felt as old as they were because it happened so slowly, and you were only ever one day slower and creakier, and the world changed so gradually that by the time cars had evolved from boxy to smooth, or green taxis had joined yellow ones, or MetroCards had replaced tokens, you were used to it. Everyone was a lobster in the pot."