If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude Book Review
Genre: Young Adult, Queer, LGBT, Romance, Science Fiction
Length: 416 Pages
Publishing: 9th May 2023
Blurb for If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come
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 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.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come Book Review
Book Review for If Tomorrow Doesn't Come
Thank you to Write Reads and Penguin Books for providing me with a copy of this book! I voluntarily leave this review!
Poised on the edge of a dock, on a cold February morning, Avery is ready to die. College was supposed to be the restart she needed. The place where she could finally be herself, but nothing has worked out the way she thought it would. Then she learns an asteroid is heading for Earth and there are only nine days left to live. Avery chooses to step back from the water and be with her loved ones for the end of the world. After all, it’s nine more days. Yet as time runs out, Avery will discover what it means to live once more.
Jen St. Jude tells Avery’s story through a combination of past and present, showing Avery’s path to discovering who she is and how depression began to take hold. The writing does a wonderful job of bringing to light tough subjects such as mental health, sexuality, and homophobia. All of which Avery faces throughout the course of the novel. And Jen St. Jude does this with such care, outlining Avery’s struggles to readers in a way that allows them to understand her and see where Avery is coming from.
There are many moments in this book where the reader will feel uncomfortable and displaced alongside Avery. From offhanded comments to religious undertones of worthiness, Avery’s struggle is brought to life in startling clarity. But there is also a thread of hope woven into the story. When the asteroid forces Avery to change her decision, she will take her first few steps toward a new reality. One that may end in nine days, but will show her the beauty of what life can be and how to enjoy her remaining time alongside loved ones.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is a truly powerful novel. The characters leap from the page and lodge themselves firmly in the reader’s hearts. Avery’s struggle to be herself and be accepted is heartbreaking. From trying to feel at home in her own body, to searching for acceptance for who she is, Avery's journey will be sure to touch the hearts of readers.
About the Author
Lambda Literary Fellow Jen St. Jude (she/they) grew up in New Hampshire apple orchards and now lives in Chicago with her wife and dog. She has served as an editor for Chicago Review of Books, Just Femme & Dandy, and Arcturus Magazine. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her cheering on the Chicago Sky and Red Stars. If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is her first novel.