*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*
CW: loss of a loved one, mention of drug use, underage drinking, sexual encounters between minors (technically)
First, I feel like I need to apologize for being so late with my review for Emma Straub’s This Time Tomorrow. I always try to review ARCs I receive in a timely manner to make sure I can help create some buzz around the release date, but I really had to take my time with this one. This has very little to do with it not being good – on the contrary, it was gobsmackingly fantastic and I forced myself to not start another chapter several times – but rather with the fact that this currently hits way too close to home.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s work our way through this from the start to my emotional destruction.
A TIME TRAVEL LOVE STORY?
I’m sure when you hear “time travel love story” the likes of The Time Traveler’s Wife, 13 Going on 30 or the Lake House come to mind. This Time Tomorrow is no such tale. Instead it is the love story between a single parent and his daughter. It’s about the relationships we forge and neglect over time, the questions that remain unanswered and the very human urge to play with the very fabric of time if it meant to get a couple seconds more.
Told from Alice Stern’s perspective, we follow her from her 40s to her 16th birthday and back again. We get to see the consequences of her actions, but also the underlying motivation for everything – more time with her dying father. She’s a very chaotic, but relatable lead to follow and I could understand many of her choices, even if I didn’t agree with the selfishness of it all at times. I don’t know if I could live with fundamentally altering other people’s lives to gain something in mine, but as I said, I understood her motivations perfectly. A grieving heart can be capable of a lot.
THE SCI-FI ASPECT?
While I love time travel and science fiction (my Doctor Who phase is proof enough), this wasn’t really like anything I had read or seen before. To me, the take on how the time travel worked, what and how it affected things and people, felt very unique. And yet, This Time Tomorrow also felt very grounded. The present day New York City setting, the heavy focus on relationships and nostalgia rather than gimmicky machines or quantum physics and the almost meta approach of Alice’s father Leonard Stern being a renowned author of a time travel book series, made it approachable and charming, rather than confusing.
The author, Emma Straub, has mentioned in many interviews that this is a very personal, almost autobiographical story and I think that very much comes through when you read it. I wept early on in the book, several times throughout and then just plain through the entirety of the final part. As I said early on, it could have had something to do with it just being a little bit too close for comfort right now, but I strongly believe in books finding you at the right time. This one was another one that went straight for the heart.
Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! I silently cried through large chunks of it, what other rating did you expect?