All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

on August 24, 2017

If There’s No Tomorrow
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Harlequin Teen AUS
2017, 250p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen. 

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

I love the cover of this book. I think it’s very eye catching and immediately made me want to read it. Love the colours and the title is intriguing enough. I’ve read Jennifer L. Armentrout before – I think I started one of her paranormal series but like many, never got around to locating all of the books to complete it. This is a straight up contemporary focusing on Lena, her neighbour Sebastian and their group of friends in the summer leading up to their final year of school. They are preoccupied with things like college choices, potential sporting scholarships etc but are still finding time to hang out and go to parties.

At first this is kind of a bit of a bland story about Lena and her mad crush on Sebastian, whom she has known since she was around seven or eight. She believes this crush is unrequited, something that’s heightened when she does something and Sebastian doesn’t really respond in the way she’d hoped, despite the clues she’d been given. But then at some point into the book it takes a pretty serious and devastating turn and all of a sudden, the romance (or potential romance) takes a serious backseat and the book focuses on Lena’s inability to really deal with what happened, process it and begin to move on as well as her crippling guilt of the circumstances surrounding what has happened.

I enjoyed Lena as a character and thought she was quite well developed. She’s quite damaged by what happened with her parents and even though it’s been a few years, it seems as though it really still impacts on her and her life quite a lot. Although she’s been crushing on Sebastian for years, she seems reluctant to really talk about it or even acknowledge it properly to her close friends (perhaps because until recently, Sebastian has had a girlfriend). She has a good relationship with her mother, actively participates at school (she plays volleyball, which she loves although she hates the training drills), works a part time job and finds time to socialise. In this book, Lena makes a mistake. It’s possibly a mistake that anyone could make – I thought back and there were times in my life where I could’ve made this same mistake. It could’ve had absolutely no bearing on her life but unfortunately the mistake Lena makes ends up resulting in an horrific tragedy. In the ‘after’, Lena is a different person – overwhelmed by guilt, she withdraws from those she has been closest to, including Sebastian and her friends. She isn’t able to express to them how she feels and what truly happened, for fear that they will blame her as she blames herself. I loved her book obsession as well – could definitely relate to that!

I think the way in which the author explored this was both realistic and also positive but without ever seeking to exonerate Lena from the choice that she made. It’s true that she does make a bad choice but she isn’t the only one that makes bad choices. Quite a few people made bad choices and they are all reasons why what happened, happened. It’s a good look at how a seemingly harmless choice to go along with the crowd can have some really devastating consequences and how it can be hard to speak up in these circumstances. It’s really hard to explore this without giving away precisely what happens to Lena and the result of all those choices but I liked the way the author tackled this. There was a bluntness to it, no attempt to really soften it and it shouldn’t be softened I don’t think. I think the attitude of “it’ll be okay” can be really harmful with this particular issue and the more it’s called out as completely unacceptable, the better.

I didn’t really like Sebastian as a character and a large portion of the book revolved around him. He gave off a lot of really confusing mixed messages and acted like a bit of a brat in the first part of the book and I couldn’t really understand what had Lena so enthralled with him. But he did step up quite a bit in the second part of the book and he was very good to Lena after what happened, even when she’s withdrawn from everyone and pushes everyone away. Ultimately though, I just didn’t have that investment in their romance and it does make up such a huge part of the book. I liked most of the other things though – Lena’s relationship with her friends, their dynamic, her family stuff. So I guess this one was a little bit mixed – things I enjoyed, other things just didn’t really work for me so much.

6/10

Book #143 of 2017


6 responses to “Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

  1. I have this one coming up for book club…. looking forward to it.

  2. Lily Malone says:

    I’m having trouble reading NA, and have for a long time. I feel so out of the loop of college/uni/parties etc – that whole scene. I have DNFd quite a few books in that genre and it’s very rare I’ll try them now.

    • I struggle with some of that too, for some reason I connect better with YA, not sure why that is. They’re still in high school here and it’s American so still quite a few years under the legal drinking age. This one was okay, just not super amazing for me.

  3. With all of the books I have in my TBR pile, I need a 5/5 to make that pile.

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