Have you ever watched a show on television that had such a strong hook right before each commercial break and right before the end of each episode that you had to record it just so you could watch it all the way through with the least interruptions possible? Now that we have Netflix, it’s easier to be able to watch a television show straight through (personally, the latest series I’ve watched is Dawson’s Creek), but that doesn’t necessarily make each one a show that we have to watch straight through. Television is one thing – most shows have the hook stuff at least somewhat figured out – but when this magic happens in the book, that is truly awesome. One example of such a book is The Book of Tomorrow. The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern has amazing hooks that draw the reader through chapter by chapter, incredible imagery, and the main characters thorough annoyance by the use of redundant expressions that make this book definitely worth a read.
For me, the very first hook that I met in this book was the mention of an AGA. While prevalent in countries like Ireland (the author lives in Dublin!), they’re much less common over here across the pond in the US. My parents have an AGA, and while it’s a bit of a trick to get used to cooking on at first, it’s such an awesome oven/stovetop/cooker. When I read the first AGA references, I jumped up and said HEY! AGAs are awesome! Yeah, that’s all it really takes to get me excited. A mention of an AGA. But the hooks between chapters are what I really wanted to discuss. For example, at the end of chapter 6 we find Tamara checking out the tattoos on Marcus, the driver of the mobile library, noting that he’s ripped, and setting off out of Kilsaney Demense. The very last sentence of the chapter is, “‘Always,’ I responded, and climbed into the passenger seat in preparation for my adventure out of Kilsaney Demense.” How can you not agree that you’ll read just one more chapterbefore going to bed with that sort of cliffhanger?
One day I hope to be able to master that type of writing – to hold my reader in suspense from one page to the next, that would be amazing. But there’s another detail in Ahern’s writing that even more fascinating to me (if you can believe that!). It’s the imagery that she uses in her writing. I not only feel like I can imagine the world she’s describing, but I can sense it too – she not only describes the look of a place, she goes beyond the basic and lets me sense the world in her book. For example, here’s a section about a house:
“The house smelled old. Musty damp mixed with generations of cooked dinners and greasy cooking oil. Somewhere in there was the scent of Sister Ignatius, a clean talcum powder soapy smell, like a freshly bathed baby. Like Rosaleen and Arthur’s house, this had the feel of the generations of people who had lived there before, families that had grown up, run and shouted through the hallways, broken things, grown things, fallen in love. Instead of the occupants owning the house, the house owned a part of each of them.”
Do you see what I mean? It’s WOW – and that’s just her description of a house. Imagine how she described the book that Tamara found in the mobile library – the one that tells her what will happen the next day. Tamara is faced with the option to do exactly what she reads in the book, knowing the outcome that will do, or to make changes to her day in the hopes of achieving a different outcome. She could solve the mystery, face her demons, grow beyond the whiny spoiled child who learns the reality that her family is no longer loaded and her new digs are where she will find a new part of herself. But while she’s doing all these monumental, coming of age struggles, she’s doing it in this writing of Cecelia Ahern’s that makes me believe I’m sitting right there with her, walking down the path with her, climbing in to the mobile library with her – it’s amazing.
From the beginning of the book, through to the end, Tamara gives us a little of herself that never ceases to amuse me. She hates redundant expressions. You know the ones, like “good win” or “hot sun”. It’s awesome because it’s something that bothers her at the beginning of the work – when she’s this spoiled city girl used to a life of luxury and shopping, all the way through to the end when she’s learned a bit about life and love and the meaning of growing up. In the beginning, she mentions when she hears other people using redundant expressions, but in the end she is using them herself – and it’s a great bit of humor sprinkled throughout. Having a bit of a lighter note is a great way to balance the suspense the build throughout the book.
The storyline is another great aspect of this book, but I think it’s one that I was able to discuss more directly through my other favorite parts of this book. Between the life that Tamara knew and the life that she’s growing into, there’s a lot of ground that has to be traveled. The book that she found does a great job of helping to lead her one way or the next, whether she knows it or not. I think that when I was 16 it definitely would’ve helped to have a book that would tell me the future to help guide my steps! But I think even then I wouldn’t have known when to make changes or when to keep the future the way it was laid out in the book. Between the main character’s hatred of redundant expressions, the amazing imagery that pulls a reader into the story, and the awesome hooks that pull the reader through the book, chapter by chapter, The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern is a fantastic read.
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Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher to facilitate my review. My opinions are honest and my own.