Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tomorrow Comes (Book Review)

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions in this post are my own.

From the back cover:

It's never easy being a teenager, but when popular and precocious 19-year old Emma awakens to find that everything she knows is somehow different, a whole new set of challenges arises. Finding herself disconnected from the ones she loves, Emma must quickly learn to bridge the gap or lose touch with them forever.
Based on a true story of love and family, grief and joy, Tomorrow Comes is inspired by the sudden and unexpected death of author Donna Mebane's own daughter. Donna breathes vitality and warmth into Emma's character, and you'll find yourself rooting for Emma as she learns to navigate her new world with courage, humor, and an indomitable spirit.
Tomorrow Comes is a daring coming-of-age book -- the first in a new series -- in which an ordinary teenager must come to terms with her own mortality, the loss of all she once knew, and an other-worldly set of rules. The results are dark and uplifting, heart-breaking and humorous.
Tomorrow Comes is an interesting story, unlike any that I've read before.  Following the death of Emma, a vivacious and apparently healthy 19-year-old, her family struggles to come to grips with their sudden loss.  Each of these people--Emma's parents, brothers, sister, and friends--handles it in a different way.  Author Donna Mebane shares even the most personal thoughts of her family members, so I almost felt as though I was with them.  Because Tomorrow Comes is based on a true story, I would think that the accounts are mostly factual.

At the same time, Emma finds herself in a place she calls AFTER.  There she sees relatives who have died, a couple of her schoolmates who died young, and even her dog who died a few years earlier.  She tests the rules of her new home and she learns to communicate with her loved ones who are still living.

This is my challenge with Tomorrow Comes.  If I remember correctly, once Emma gets to AFTER, she thinks of God once or twice, and she briefly wonders whether she's in heaven.  We can assume that she is, since--although she misses her loved ones in BEFORE--her new life is nearly perfect.  But since no one knows what our loved ones in heaven experience, this part of this book is, of course, speculative.  Can we continue to read Facebook posts?  Will we be able to change radio stations to send messages to our friends?  Can we visit our loved ones on earth?  Will we see the animals we once loved?  Although I believe that heaven is a beautiful and wonderful place, none of these specifics aligns with what I believe.

Still, I found Tomorrow Comes absorbing.  I was sympathetic to the grief of Emma's family and friends.  I can't imagine losing a young daughter (or sister or friend), but the accounts of the individuals' responses were relatable.  So with the reservations I mentioned, I recommend Tomorrow Comes.

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