Reviews for Is This Tomorrow
Excerpted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Brandeis Magazine
Vanity Fair Hot Type
"Leavitt builds tremendous suspense while remaining as concerned with character as she is with plot. She's created an insightful parable about a complicated and uncertain era."
"An arresting portrait of bygone America. Leavitt does a masterful job of building suspense as the terrifying story of what happened to Jimmy is slowly and skillfully revealed. But this is more than a page-turner of a mystery. Leavitt is as concerned with character as she is with plot, and therefore this book is also a poignant and insightful examination of how the survivors of tragedy are often transformed, molded and defined by that which haunts them. Here, the disappearance of Jimmy serves almost as a metaphor for the Cold War angst and suspicion gripping the country. Perhaps the most magical aspect of Leavitt's wonderful novel is that her narrative works as almost a parable for that complicated and uncertain era, teaching and warning her readers even as she entertains them."
Skip Horack, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Leavitt is known for her ability to plumb the depths of human emotions. Her real strength lies in her portrayal of grief's many manifestations in those most closely affected.. Leavitt demonstrates through Lewis and Rose that without closure, the grief remains dormant yet retains its power. "
"A page-turning heartbreaker."
Kit Reed, The Miami Herald
"A clever plot renders Leavitt’s novel so riveting during the reading and so haunting thereafter. Leavitt’s deserves such accolades because of the sophisticated authority of the her singular voice and the creative complexity of her imaginative plot."
"Opens with an effective, efficient setup guaranteed to tantalize this bestselling author’s avid readership. Vividly drawn and emotionally engaging."
The Washington Post
"Leavitt's lyrical prose weaves backstory into present time seamlessly. The mystery of the missing child is resolved a decade later in a way that touches each of the damaged lives with startling consequences."
Audiophile Earphone Awards
"Leavitt brilliantly melds Cold War paranoia, religious persecution, and ostracism in a tale of tragedy and consequence that intricately weaves toward a resolution that is at once surprising and yet seemingly inevitable."
John Valeri, The Hartford Examiner
"This is a wise novel about the pain of loss. Leavitt's is a novel that pulls you in and makes you
root for an ostracized mother and her son, feel the inconsolable grief of a mother whose child has vanished, and a sister who never ceases to look for her borther. An eminently satisfying read. Leavitt provides no easy answers about how we can compensate for loss, but she engages our heart."
Kathryn Lang, The Boston Globe
"Ava Lark, a divorced Jewish woman, and her 12-year-old son, Lewis, move into a WASPy 1950s Boston suburb only to be ostracized by their neighbors and sucked into a heart-wrenching ordeal. When Lewis's friend Jimmy goes missing, his disappearance has lifelong consequences for Ava, Lewis, and Rose, Jimmy's sister. By the time Lewis is in his twenties, he is estranged from his mother, while Rose has moved away and become a teacher. The truth of what happens to Jimmy comes out unexpectedly, forcing the three of them to confront truths they've long suppressed. Leavitt (Pictures of You) 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. This tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore."
Library Journal, starred review
"More shocking than a conspiracy theory."
New Jersey Monthly
"Caroline Leavitt follows up her New York Times bestselling "Pictures of You") with "Is This Tomorrow," a novel about the lasting impact a 12 year-old boy's disappearance has on a suburban Boston neighborhood, particularly his sister Rose, his best friend Lewis and his best friend's mother Ava, a single mother who the missing boy had a desperate crush on. The story starts in 1956 and then picks up again with Lewis and Rose young adults, both still caught up in the mystery of what happened to Jimmy all those years ago. Giving the book an "enthusiastic thumbs up," Wally Lamb credits Leavitt with a "Mad Men-like examination of shifting midcentury American values."
Mary Polis, MSN Entertainment Page Turner
"Leavitt's 10th novel is a triumph. The story at times brings to mind Dennis Lehane's masterful Mystic River. Though all of Leavitt's novels have been superb and highly acclaimed, it strikes me that Is This Tomorrow is her most accomplished work. There is a sharp nuance here, one that reverberates throughout. That and lovely, vivid characterizations and superb period detail contribute to making what may be Leavitt's best book yet."
Monica Stark, January Magazine
"It begs to be said out Loud: Leavitt is an American Author of great consequence who meticulously crafts stories about real people who find themselves at a crossroads."
Holy Cara Price, Pop Matters
"Leavitt is a lovely writer and here she tells an absorbing story."
Sherryl Connelly, The New York Daily News
Featured in People Magazine
"Rich with characters. A literary mystery with a lot of depth as well as a social commentary on the mores of the 1950s."
Carol Fitzgerald, The Bookreporter Bets On, At Bookreporter.com
“This is a book for those who appreciate fine writing, a compelling story and characters who will live long after in the heart and soul. There is much for book clubs to discuss.”
The Shawnee News-Star
“I highly recommend this novel for those who enjoy a captivating, intriguing work of fiction that keeps readers on their toes.”
Times Record News
"The writing is beautiful and captures the domestic life of the 50′s and 60′s perfectly, and brings these characters to vivid life."
Books on the Nightstand, Books We Can't Wait For You To read
"This is a book for those who appreciate fine writing, a compelling story, and characters who will live long after in the heart and soul. There's much for book clubs to discuss."
The Taunton Gazette Summer Pageturners
"Fans of heartfelt and emotionally rich fiction have been devouring the works of Leavitt since her impassioned debut, Meeting Rozzy Halfway. Ever sincem leavitt has delivered-slice-of-life tales of Amerian families at an impressive pace, constantly upping her game along the way. Is This Tomorrow is a taut and resonant mystery of a missing child, which has already garnered critical acclaim and a devoted readership's praise."
The Barnes and Noble Review
"I didn't want to put this book down. Full of twists and turns that keep you reading to the end.:
Faye Daysen, the Southern Pines Pilot
"Leavitt renders her charaacters with deep understanding and gives them complex back-stories and characteristics. By the time the second part of the novel begins, Ava, Rose and Lewis are multidimensional characters whom readers understand completely. As the book closes, readers will feels that the lives of the characters will open up to entirely new chapters. Fans of Leavitt's work will want to see this latest offering, and new readers,d rawn in by Leavitt's emotional portraits, may find a new author to love."
"Surprising, unexpected plot twists, and dramatic."
Cheryl Knocker McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, for Shelf Awareness
"Leavitt has a way of crafting the loveliest novels out of tragedy. Like its predecessor, Pictures of You (2011), her latest work, set mainly in the 1950s, turns on a single fateful incident: the disappearance of 12-year-old Jimmy Rearson. Though Leavitt eventually reveals what happened to Jimmy, in a closure that provides little in the way of solace, it’s her examination of loss, grief, and disappointment that will engross readers. Lewis, Jimmy’s best friend, is already an angry loner, a child of divorce in a time and place where his mother, Ava, is viewed as a challenge to the natural order. Without Jimmy as a tether, he drifts aimlessly into adulthood. Rose, Jimmy’s sister, is paralyzed by survivor’s guilt: to move on without her brother feels tantamount to betrayal. The aching loneliness of these two is palpable. But Leavitt’s most captivating creation is the mercurial Ava, an accidental trailblazer who refuses to deny her dreams. It is Ava, ultimately, who points the way forward, showing there’s no shame in putting ghosts to rest."
Patty Wetli, Booklist
"Caroline Leavitt is an amazingly skilled writer as she showcases her ability to delve deeply into her characters’ souls while still maintaining an atmosphere of suspense and historical accuracy. Themes of loneliness, the devastation of secrets, and the quest for love are interwoven throughout this beautifully rendered literary thriller."
Hillary Daninhirsch, Historical Novel Review
"Leavitt’s compelling work explores how a tragedy casts a shadow—not only upon the days that immediately follow, but sometimes the rest of a life. Life isn’t always what we expect, a fact that is thoughtfully explored in this beautifully rendered tale."
Carla Jean Whitley, Bookpage
"In the spirit of Richard Yates’ novel Revolutionary Road, Caroline Leavitt peels back the neat façade of suburban life in the 1950s to uncover the ways in which the demands of conformity leave a trail of loneliness and pain for those who lie outside its bounds. Ava Lark, the divorced Jewish mother of twelve-year-old Lewis, struggles against the judgment of neighbors as she and her son befriend the only other fatherless children around, Jimmy and Rose. Jimmy’s sudden, unexplained disappearance taps into every parent’s worst nightmare. Blending taut suspense with deeply moving portrayals of fierce parental love, childhood friendships and first crushes, Leavitt has created a novel with haunting characters and much to say about how we move through tragedy. "
Libby Cowles, Maria’s Bookshop
"From the lockstep '50s into the do-your-own-thing '60s, Caroline Leavitt follows her cast of lonely characters as they grapple with the sorrowful mystery of a missing child. 'Are any of our children safe?' one asks, and of course the answer is no, no one is. Like Mona Simpson's Off Keck Road, Is This Tomorrow is an intimate meditation on time, loss and destiny."
Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily, Alone and The Odds
"When someone disappears, what happens to the people who are left behind? This is the central, heartbreaking question in Caroline Leavitt's exquisite new book. 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, Is This Tomorrow is the novel you need to read today."
Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Lone Wolf
“A beautiful free-spirited divorcee is shunned by her neighbors. A boy from that neighborhood goes missing. This is the engine that drives Leavitt’s latest story, a page turner from first to last. I loved the way Leavitt’s Mad Men-like examination of shifting American values dovetails with her vivid tale of heartbreak and hope. An enthusiastic thumbs-up from this grateful reader."
Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much is True, She's Come Undone
"Leavitt’s first historical novel is a grand slam. Her attention to detail and dialogue are remarkable. The ratcheting tension as an Eisenhower era neighorhood searches for a missing boy-gripping. The resolution of the mystery years later, both heartbreaking and hopeful. I so admire Leavitt’s ability to pull you into the story, tie you up, and leave you guessing, until she masterfully guides you through the twists and turns towards, home. ”
Lesley Kagan, author of Good Graces
"Leavitt asks the big, equivocal questions: What does it mean to be a mother, a family? What is the nature of identity? The answers will provoke you, frustrate you, rearrange your heart."
Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and What We Saw At Night
"An expertly rendered novel that poignantly chronicles the aftermath of a family’s worst nightmare and its far-reaching devastation. At once haunting and elegant, Is This Tomorrow will leave the reader shattered and hopeful right up to the shocking end.”
Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence
"Is This Tomorrow is the gripping tale of a boy gone missing in 1950s suburbs and of of those whose lives are enveloped, tangled and changed by the mystery: the missing boy’s sister, his best friend, and the divorced working mom who can’t fit into the neighborhood. With wit and a perfect eye into the human heart, Leavitt has given us a truly unique story of love, loyalty, loss, betrayal, secrets, healing—and a resolution you’ll never see coming. It’s everything you want in a novel.”
Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees
"In her dynamic follow-up to Pictures of You, Leavitt has given us that rare and irresistible combination of tenderly crafted, richly layered and utterly believable characters I found myself caring about by page ten--and a crackling suspense story that just about explodes off the page. Call it a literary thriller: Is This Tomorrow reveals a world you will want to linger in, and secrets you’ll stay up late to untangle. Reading this story is a memorable and moving journey and one that (for those who don’t already love her work) reveals Leavitt to be a brave and humane writer who also understands what keeps us turning the pages.”
Joyce Maynard, author of The Good Daughters and Labor Day
"When a 12-year-old boy disappears from his suburban Boston neighborhood, ripples spread far and wide. It's the rigid 1950's and a tight knit community comes undone. The mystery is set up early in the novel, so there is plenty of time to get involved and invested in characters you care about, or are distrustful of, or ones whose motives you question. The overwhelming arc of the story is for these characters you come to feel protective of to get beyond the tragedy. How can you get to tomorrow when time is forever stuck on one tragic day? You want them to find their tomorrows. And thanks to great writing, I was pulling for them all the way."
Candace Purdom, Anderson's Bookshop
"Ah, the 1950’s, bouffants and poodle skirts, long lazy days with friends, and above all, strictly defined gender roles that seem to encompass everything from who mows the lawn to who bakes the pies. This is the world that we are sent to in this novel. Ava is a divorcee in an era where divorced women were considered “fallen” and most certainly fair game. To make matters worse, she has her son Lewis with her. When Lewis’ s best friend disappears one hot April day never to be seen again, it is not just his family that feels the loss. Lewis and Ava are as profoundly affected and the neighbourhood seems to shrink into itself with fear. Add to all that the rampant misogyny that Ava faces on a daily basis at work, the snarky comments from her neighbours about what kind of woman she is and the struggle of simply living on after the loss and you have this novel. There is a special kind of loneliness that surrounds the survivors of a major loss and this is the loneliness that Caroline Leavitt writes and weaves like poetry into the lives of this book."
Amal Chaaban, RagMag Magazine