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Is This Tomorrow: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Caroline Leavitt
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1956, Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a desirable Boston suburb. Ava is beautiful, divorced, Jewish, and a working mom. She finds her neighbors less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the throes of Cold War paranoia—seizes the opportunity to further ostracize Ava and her son.

Years later, when Lewis and Rose reunite to untangle the final pieces of the tragic puzzle, they must decide: Should you tell the truth even if it hurts those you love, or should some secrets remain buried?

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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


A New York Times and USA Today bestseller

"Riveting-" Vanity Fair Hot Type
"Leavitt builds tremendous suspense while remaining as concerned with character as she is with plot."
The Week
"An arresting portrait of bygone America."
Skip Horack, The San Francisco Chronicle

"A page-turning heartbreaker."
Kit Reed, The Miami Herald
"Guaranteed to tantalize this bestselling author's avid readership."
The Washington Post

"An eminently satisfying read."
Kathryn Lang, The Boston Globe
"More shocking than a conspiracy theory."
New Jersey Monthly 

"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 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
"Fans of heartfelt and emotionally rich fiction have been devouring the impassioned works of Leavitt.  A taut and resonant mystery, which has already garnered critical acclaim and a devoted readership's praise." 
The Barnes and Noble Revie
"Surprising, unexpected plot twists, and dramatic." 
Cheryl Knocker McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, for Shelf Awareness
"Caroline Leavitt is an amazingly skilled writer."
Hillary Daninhirsch, Historical Novel Review 
"An intimate meditation on time, loss and destiny."
Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily, Alone and The Odds

Product Details

  • File Size: 1274 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (May 7, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,655 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depth Perception June 1, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Why do we read? For love, families, relationships, heartbreak, historical lessons, feeling as if we've been there too? IS THIS TOMORROW by Caroline Leavitt masterfully and powerfully takes us to a world that never was even though it is entrenched in our common mythology.

Ava moves her son, Lewis, to the suburbs in the 1950s. She rents a house in a "perfect" neighborhood to provide him with safety and friends. The neighborhood teems with children. But Ava is immediately an outsider: she's too pretty, she has curves, the husbands dance too closely with her, she has a job outside the home because she is a single DIVORCED parent. There is a reason DANGER and DIVORCE both start with D. Now add that she's (don't say it too loud), um, Jewish.

Her son Lewis is a loner because Ava is his mother, because he's too smart, and his teachers wish he wouldn't ask so many questions. Like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, he and Ava are scolded for his reading too well in the early grades.

Lewis and his mom make friends with the kids, Rose and Jimmy, from across the street. Then one day Jimmy disappears. The neighborhood draws together at first to find the culprit,to destroy the danger. Then they drift apart in hopelessness and change.

But people still look at Ava funny, as if she brought this evil down upon them.

Decades pass. We learn more about the hopes and dreams of Ava, Rose, Lewis. We are led to reconsider how Jimmy disappeared as new clues emerge.

But at the heart of the story, we want to see how and if Ava, Lewis, and Rose can make happiness and peace in an imperfect world called reality. There is no perfect place. Life is a rocky road.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you can practically feel the shaggy carpeting May 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This was a novel that I read and savored slowly, turning the pages was like peeling back an onion as the story unfolded and the characters developed. It is 1956 and Ava Lark is different. She works outside the home and is the only divorced, Jewish single mother in the quiet Boston suburb where they have moved to start a new life. Lewis, 12 years old, doesn't understand why his father has not come to claim or visit him, but he finds friendship with two other children on the block whose father has died. Jimmy and Rose, along with Lewis, roam free and are constant companions until the day that Jimmy goes missing.

The police and the suspicious neighbors question Ava and search diligently for Jimmy until they finally give up, believing he has run away, been kidnapped, murdered, had an clues were ever found. Lewis feels guilty because he was supposed to meet Jimmy the day he disappeared and did not show up. Rose moves away with her devastated mom. Ava is marginalized by her connection to the family and because she is so different from the other women in the neighborhood so she's left without friends or solace as her son retreats further from her in his own loneliness and guilt.

Lewis leaves home as he searches for a connection that will restore him to the person he was before Jimmy disappeared and for some sort of absolution. Ava, left on her own again, finds fulfillment in a surprising way.

I thought the tone of this novel was sad and it was touching and beautiful in a way that left me a little bit depressed. Even when the mystery of Jimmy's disappearance is solved, the happy ending I so wanted for them all was not assured.

Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin books for the ebook to review.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant. Engrossing. July 9, 2013
Leavitt's book is so poignant I must believe she lived one of the central parts. Her depth of understanding of the characters, her magnetic characters, is the deepest I've ever read. The oh-so real human feelings bared here held me tight while also frightening me--perhaps of what would come next, or maybe my own feelings in similar circumstances. This is a story of people dealing with difficult situations, the innermost workings of pain so touching and real I frequently needed to put it aside to digest. At its end, it proved to be more than a good read for me; at its end I felt washed clean of a layer of my own private pain. Leavitt's book is not a frivolous read; it is a rare and most excellent gift. (Ariel I.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Lady
What an emotional rollercoaster, it's a mystery, a who done it, but did anything happen. It's about Lewis, Rose, and Jimmy. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Joan
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written book with a very well-crafted story structure that...
Beautifully written book with a very well-crafted story structure that kept me wanting to know what happens next. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Christine Sleeter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really great book! I loved it!
Published 1 month ago by JM Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars Where the heck is the kid?
The first half of the book was reminiscient of My Sunshine Away (this title was written first, but I read Sunshine prior to reading this), in that the neighborhood was looking for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rachi J
4.0 out of 5 stars good fast read
Nice to read about a time period you don't see often in modern literature. Enjoyable, well paced, thoughtful and I now need to eat pie.
Published 1 month ago by mags
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, intrigue, a look back at the 1950s
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. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sherrey Meyer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Novel
This is a novel about the pain of loss. The book isn't a page-turner in the usual sense but it's a novel that pulls you in and makes you root for an ostracized mother and her son,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joann R. Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing writer.
She's an amazing writer.
Published 3 months ago by jcboulder
5.0 out of 5 stars Leavitt is one of our best novelists!
I spent the week-end inside this novel because though I needed to sleep I just loved every minute. Yes, I am a Leavitt fan but in this book there was both more mystery and more... Read more
Published 4 months ago by readernyc
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont wait till tomorrow to read this one!
I can't seem to get enough of Caroline Leavitt. This book is wonderful.
Published 4 months ago by Tereesa
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