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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depth Perception
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"...
Published 18 months ago by Eileen Granfors

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs to be edited
A decent read, the author has potential. With some tightening up on errors and flaws it could be a five star novel. A good story line and interesting plot. However, I'm afraid the author doesn't quite reach down deep enough to flesh out real live characters. The voices sound too much alike, there is no distinction. I would have thought this was an early draft of a novel,...
Published 18 months ago by Tess


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depth Perception, June 1, 2013
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This review is from: Is This Tomorrow: A Novel (Paperback)
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.

IS THIS TOMORROW revisits the iconic "peaceful" fifties and the turbulent sixties with love and an eye toward truth. Leavitt asks her reader to take off those rose-colored glasses about the "old days" to see what life was like behind the white picket fences. Ozzie and Harriet, the Cleavers, and Father Knows Best stereotyped the American household on television. Leavitt goes beyond pie in the sky to give us a taste of bitter with the sweet.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you can practically feel the shaggy carpeting, May 9, 2013
By 
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "When someone disappears, what happens to the people who are left behind?", May 16, 2013
This review is from: Is This Tomorrow: A Novel (Paperback)
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 accident...no 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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs to be edited, May 28, 2013
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This review is from: Is This Tomorrow: A Novel (Paperback)
A decent read, the author has potential. With some tightening up on errors and flaws it could be a five star novel. A good story line and interesting plot. However, I'm afraid the author doesn't quite reach down deep enough to flesh out real live characters. The voices sound too much alike, there is no distinction. I would have thought this was an early draft of a novel, certainly one without crucial edits, prior to publication. Anachronisms like, "We're not on the same page," and other such lines were not around in 1956. Many of her metaphors come off as juvenile and unbelievable from an adult character. The leading questions from the "teacher" at the end of the book sound like questions for an 8th grade class, they should not be included for the general audience.

I did enjoy the story, but wish there were more finesse in the editing. And the ending? Not satisfying. At the very least ditch the last sentence, it serves no purpose. I read the author's justification for why she leaves her stories hanging, and the fill-in-the-blank, make up your own ending, needs a much stronger character development to be believable for the reader.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant. Engrossing., July 9, 2013
By 
M. Copeland (Jacksonville, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Is This Tomorrow: A Novel (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting more, August 2, 2013
By 
Karen "Karen" (EDGERTON, WI, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Is This Tomorrow (Audio CD)
This review is for the audio CD version - unabridged.

There is something about listening to someone read you a story. I love it. Although not using the active visual processing there is a comfort to processing a story through our hearing. Perhaps it harkens back to the days before writing existed and our history was passed from mouth to mouth. I wonder how many stories may have died out because someone wasn't really captivated by the story or the narrator. I admit to finding myself feeling bored in sections of this story.

As the single narrator, Sands had the daunting task of creating both adult and adolescent voices. She changed up her tone to signify changes in characters. She was just not really adept at distinguishing her female characters from other females and the same for her male characters. All the women started to sound the same and same for the male characters. Her adolescent boy voice grated on my nerves.

This sounded like such an interesting story. 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. Leavitt creates a convincing portrait of what it is like to be a divorced mother in this period of history. That she is Jewish as well adds a whole other layer. And for me, this is the problem. She created such an intriguing character in Ava. She was a woman ahead of her time and I found her fascinating. I found her son Lewis much less so; he was bland and sometimes annoying. As for the mystery of Jimmy's disappearance, the author dealt with the fear and paranoia of it very well. But I found the reverberation in Lewis's and Ava's life written superficially. I understood intellectually that this event impacted them tremendously but the author never made me feel it. As for the denouement - it felt forced.

With this in mind, I felt the narrator did do what she could with the material she had. Ava Lark was such an interesting character - when she was on stage I enjoyed this audio version very much. I found myself wishing at the end that Leavitt had thought to write purely from Ava's point of view what it was like to be a divorced Jewish single mother in the 1950's. I would have enjoyed that story much more.

Enjoy this book for the wonderful characterization of Ava but don't expect much from the mystery.

This audio was provided by the publisher. This in no way impacted the outcome of this review.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok at first, but fizzled out, June 28, 2013
This review is from: Is This Tomorrow: A Novel (Paperback)
I have typically enjoyed this author so was ready to dig into her new book. The first half of the book did a good job of building some suspense and developing the characters. It was touching and you felt the fear and sadness that permeated the neighborhood during that time. However, the second half just wandered. The 'twist' seemed too coincidental and the characters themselves (except the mother) became aimless and unlikable. For many of the support characters that were called out specifically in part 1 (the detective, Jake), they either were very disconnected to the storyline in part 2 or disappeared completely...making me wonder why there was so much written about them to begin with. Honestly, I found part 2 tedious and was very happy when I finally finished the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, June 22, 2013
This was a 5 star book for sure. Anytime I ignore all household chores and read non-stop because I have to know what happens next makes it an amazing book. I highly recommend this novel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, June 15, 2013
This review is from: Is This Tomorrow: A Novel (Paperback)
At one time happy families, at one time a happy circle of friends, but then a missing child, a heartache for life, and a secret.

This secret, had it been revealed, most likely would have made the lives of Rose, Lewis, Ava, and Dot totally different.

After Jimmy disappeared nothing was the same for any of the main characters. The disappearance was the focus of their lives and consumed every minute of their day as they tried to move on or moved away.

The book at first appeared as if it were going to be a love story, but what a surprise. It turned into a mystery with such remarkable storytelling and such an incredible plot that it was difficult to figure out. You thought you knew who was responsible, and then another incident arose as another character told where they were on that fateful day creating a twist to throw you off. As you hear these stories, you will want to turn back the clock, and you will want to shake the characters into telling their true feelings to each other for comfort and hope.

The tragedy and the mystery made the book refreshingly different just like the characters. IS THIS TOMORROW was very well written with wonderful descriptions of the scenes and of the characters. All of the characters were a bit gloomy but most were quite loveable and endearing. Rose was my favorite. She was sweet, unassuming, innocent, yet very thoughtful. Lewis was brilliant but had issues that kept him from achieving his full potential. Ava finally found something that would make use of her talents and that made her happy, but she still remained alone. Dot was forever sad about losing her son.

If you want a book that you can't wait to get back to, IS THIS TOMORROW is the ticket. It was a bit slow at first, but with all the twists and turns and the terrific plot, you will find yourself devouring the pages looking for answers just as the characters did.

I hope you enjoy this book and its interesting plot as much as I did. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect portrayal of the 50's, September 1, 2014
I enjoyed and related to IS THIS TOMORROW. It is a book about a missing boy and what happens to those who have lost him. However it is much more than that. It is an exploration of the 1950s when I grew up. Leavitt has the era done perfectly. One of the lead characters is a divorced woman, Ava and she is shunned in the community. I remember at my catholic school there was one divorced mother and she and her son were shunned. Women were blamed for divorce in the 50's and the author brings that home beautifully. Middle class suburbs were not inhabited with divorced women and dead beat dads. The dad is a financially successful hollow man who is a superficial narcissist. The son, Lewis, like many kids, cannot accept that his father does not care for him and blames his mother. The author portrays how painful this is for the mother with fine perfect brush strokes.

The portrayal of the era with the terror of communism, fear of strangers, or anyone different, (Ava and her son are Jewish) brings on perfect claustrophobia. As Ava types plumbing invoices for a moronic boss every, day you feel her pain.

I particularly liked the section where the author tells the reader how she grew up as the only Jewish family in a new suburb and how it looked serene but there were always undercurrents of distrust, discontent and anti-semitism. I enjoyed reading how Leavitt spun her real life history into this fictional work. She can certainly spin reality into golden fiction.
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Is This Tomorrow: A Novel
Is This Tomorrow: A Novel by Caroline Leavitt (Paperback - May 7, 2013)
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