Here’s the plot as I knew it going into the story: Tamara’s dad dies, her mother withdraws deeply into her grief, and the previously wealthy mother and daughter most go live with poor relations to get by. While struggling to fit into her new life, Tamara finds a book, which every night reveals the events which will happen the next day.
Based on the description, I was nervous that this book would be very emotional, bordering on too angsty or too sad for me to enjoy. I’m not sure what drew me to read it any way, perhaps the intriguing premise and cover picture, but whatever it was, my instincts were good. Although there were certainly emotional and thought-provoking elements to the story, the story felt most like a really good mystery to me.
This wasn’t the Agatha-Christie-style mystery I usually go for, with a clear crime, defined suspect list, and deductions based on human nature. Instead it was something fresh and new and wonderful. At the beginning, Tamara simply has a suspicion that something is not right. Perhaps her aunt isn’t doing as much as she should to help her mother. Perhaps her aunt’s and uncle’s eccentricities hide something more sinister. But the may also just be a quiet, slightly odd couple doing what they think is best for Tamara and her mom. Initially, it’s hard to say and events move slowly.
After Tamara finds the book, the pace picks up a lot and the story comes into it’s own. I particularly liked the unique way in which parts of the mystery were revealed. Sometimes answers were spelled out in the book Tamara found. Other times, she has to do her best to improve on the day she read about. The back and forth between the book and the real events could have become confusing. Fortunately, the author helpfully references the appropriate book entry as a day goes by which clearly made the distinction between the book and what really happened.
Finally, I liked that the initially spoiled Tamara grows as a person through her experiences. Having the book forces her to realize that her actions have an impact on the future, causing her to approach her life more deliberately. This was a very well-written, creative approach to telling a story and I would highly recommend it. Now I just need to catch up to the rest of the world and read Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You .This review first published onDoing Dewey.