A little late with this post but I needed some time to process the brilliance.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come
Jen St. Jude
We Are Okay meets They Both Die at the End in this YA debut about queer first love and mental health at the end of the world-and the importance of saving yourself, no matter what tomorrow may hold.
Avery Byrne has secrets. She’s queer; she’s in love with her best friend, Cass; and she’s suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.
Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is a celebration of queer love, a gripping speculative narrative, and an urgent, conversation-starting book about depression, mental health, and shame.
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I’m honestly not sure whether I have the words or where to begin, except to say that you most likely will need tissues when reading this book, I was an emotional wreck by the end. I don’t really know what I was expecting with this book but I feel if I had expectations it would have surpassed them, I know that I will not be able to convey to you how much I loved If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come even though it made me cry and still makes me feel teary any time I think about it (which is a lot).
Considering the story is leading up to an end of the world event the atmosphere of the book is mostly serene, I never felt tense whilst reading, it manages to take its time to say what needs to be said whilst also being a book that I didn’t want to put down and felt like I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. There are some big topics covered in the story that could make for some heavy reading but the author has managed to explore them in a meaningful and engaging way that still left me feeling positive.
Everything in the book is so well written I felt totally transported into this near apocalyptic world, but Avery is the shining star of the story. She is guarded and sad and struggling but very relatable and I loved her as a character, despite what she has been going through she pushes on and tries to help as many people as she can. It was wonderful getting to see her slowly open up to everyone and become so much more at peace with herself, which is why it was possible to feel so hopeful at the same time as tears were streaming down my face.
All the relationships are so well written in this book, but I loved the relationship between Cass and Avery and I love that we get to see it play out as we flashback into their past, how they gravitate toward each other and dance around each other. Honestly can’t tell you how happy it made me seeing them fall in love but also take the time to prioritise themselves when it mattered. I do think that a special mention must be made to the relationship between Avery and her brother Peter too, I loved how they looked out for each other and supported each other.
I feel like nothing I can say will be able to express how amazing this book is, I know this review doesn’t come close to doing it justice, all I can say is it is a heart-breaking, hopeful, emotional journey and you have to read it.
Lambda Literary Fellow Jen St. Jude (she/they) grew up in New Hampshire apple orchards and now lives in Chicago with her wife and dog. She has served as an editor for Chicago Review of Books, Just Femme & Dandy, and Arcturus Magazine. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her cheering on the Chicago Sky and Red Stars. If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is her first novel.
2 thoughts on “Book Review | If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come @WriteReadsTours”
I completely agree! I also needed time to process after this book, and it is probably one of the saddest ones I’ve ever read!
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Yes definitely an amazing but sad read
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