Book Review: If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude
Not only did the title, gorgeous cover, and book comps of They Both Die at the End and We Are Okay, grab my attention, but this queer end of the world book is not to be missed. Check out my thoughts below.
Many thanks to Bloomsbury YA for sending me an advance copy which in no way influences my thoughts below.
If Tomorrow Doesn't Comeby Jen St. Jude
Published by: Bloomsbury YA
on May 9, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Speculative Fiction, Young Adult
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 live: 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.
Minor spoilers below.
This book is so much more than a speculative take on an end of the world narrative, it’s a deep introspective on being queer, being raised in a loving yet Catholic home, and how depression can take down anyone. There is also queer joy, of getting to know oneself, acceptance from your family, and loving your best friend and finally being able to be together and knowing they are truly your person.
This story is told in alternating timelines, the now – asteroid in nine days is coming; and in the past events that shaped the MC, Avery’s important moments in life leading up to the now. Moments like her coming out to her family, seeking help from her priest about depression and being queer, leaving for college and struggling with not being the best she could be on the soccer pitch, college classes being a whole different beast than High School, etc… I loved the way it was told in the now and the past, because it helped lend gravitas to the tenderness of what is ultimately a love story.
The subject matter of undiagnosed depression is handled so well in my opinion, I really connected with Avery’s struggles, and I just wanted to give her a hand, and give her someone to talk to, to help her out of her own head. There are a lot of emotions and trauma, but I really want more people to read this book. So if you like sad books, but contain the compelling exploration of what brings you joy when you have no control over the ending…than this book is for you. Finding joy and love when everything just feels hopeless is something I think we can relate to in these times for sure.
Please check content warnings to be safe before you read; but there is a lot of intrusive thoughts, talk of a suicide in the past, as well as suicide ideations.