A review by bklassen
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

dark emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 What a disappointment. This book got so much hype and praise, especially from John Green; I loved Zevin’s other book, “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry”; I love video games and themes of friendship or collaboration – so why didn’t this book work for me? 

In a word: melodrama. In multiple words: Way too much melodrama. At times it felt like a more grounded soap opera. 

I have never wanted characters to get more therapy before, even though I actively know that characters becoming mentally or emotionally healthy resolves most, if not all, of the tension in a book. It actively hindered my enjoyment of the book, and I think the biggest issue is that there didn’t feel like enough growth, or any growth that occurred felt like it was in the last 10% of the book. 

The rest of the book felt like emotional torture porn. If you liked A Little Life, you might like this book! 

Spoiler It starts off well with these two kids bonding over video games. His foot was destroyed in a car accident and she was visiting her sister with cancer, and they bond as two friends never have before. But then the “secret” of Sadie using their friendship for community service (or at least that’s how it started – she was a little opportunistic, but then she actually became best friends with Sam) comes out and he won’t talk to her for years because he’s hurt. 

Understandable! Kids don’t usually have the emotional reasoning to process and talk through that! Oh also he had just lost his mom in a car accident and his foot was mashed and he was in incredible pain, so he’s already not in the right mindset and is incredibly vulnerable. 

Years later, they into each other while in college and they agree to put the past behind them and become friends again because they used to be the best of friends. And they’re both brilliant when it comes to coding and video games. 

But then something else major happens, like Sadie accusing Sam of pushing her into an abusive relationship, and instead of talking it out, they just “break up” again.  

Rinse and repeat but with alternating characters initiating the cold shoulder for the rest of the book. Oh and throw in a love triangle, too. 

Want to know the full list of drama and awful things that occur in the book? 

SpoilerParent and grandparent death, suicide, abortion, unplanned pregnancy, estranged fathers, racism, abusive relationships where the two people STAY FRIENDS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, a love triangle, a shooting/death of a partner, amputation/medical trauma, depression, and more.

The whole book was a codependent relationship where the two main characters hated each other off and on – I wanted them to either get therapy and figure their shit out or just stop being friends because they’re both toxic. 

I am very aware of the conversation circling books: can you or are you supposed to enjoy a book with unlikable characters? I’d say it depends on why you read, the purpose of the book, and what you like in books. 

To me, it’s like the difference between Friends/Seinfeld, It’s Always Sunny, and Succession. The first shows have pretty terrible people in them but they try to convince you that they’re good people, the second show knows and revels in the fact that the MCs are all terrible people but it’s for comedy, and the third show knows you want that good, good drama about terrible people. All valid and great shows, but it’s crucial to know what you want to watch and what you’re getting into. For instance, I know I wouldn’t like Succession, so I don’t watch it because I wouldn’t enjoy it. 

This is all to say that this isn’t objectively a bad book, it’s more a warning to readers who are interested. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO. If you don’t like melodramatic books about friendship that feels more off than on, then you’d almost certainly not like this book, especially if you despise love triangles. 

However, if you enjoy books with lots of dramatic life events, friendships that do feel real between people with lots of unresolved trauma and issues, and more, then you may enjoy this! 

I personally don’t enjoy those things and really did not connect with this book, so it wasn’t for me. 

To Zevin’s credit, she has an astounding vocabulary. More than 10-15 times I found myself looking up a word. And both the characters are almost too smart for their own good, so the usage of such words felt apt. 

Secondly, she did do a great job of putting forth one point of view or perspective so that I would understand, empathize with, and side with that character. But then the next POV switch would occur and I would switch sides. This shows a fundamental understanding of her characters that she was able to do that because context and understanding is more than half the battle.  

Another book about two best friends creating art together alongside the crazy ups and downs and trauma of life that I really enjoyed was The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker. I can’t put my finger on why I enjoyed that book more than T & T & T, but perhaps it was that I actually felt their friendship better and that even though the two characters go through highs and lows and insane shit, they at least felt like real friends and worked through it. I felt a deeper connection to the two of them and wanted them to work out whatever they go through. So maybe that is the difference. Oh and no love triangles! 

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