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Monday, April 27, 2020

Depressing Vacation-Gone-Wrong Novel Doesn't Appeal

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Jenna Carlson has planned the perfect getaway to celebrate her husband's 50th birthday.  The bestselling YA novelist has rented a luxurious villa right on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  It will be the perfect place for the couple and their moody 16-year-old to relax and bond.  Peter's best friend and business partner, Robert "Solly" Solomon, has also been invited along with Ingrid, his beautiful, much-younger wife, his teenage son from his previous marriage, and his 5-year-old autistic son from his current one.  Solly's exuberance can be a bit much, but the vacation won't be as much fun without his larger-than-life personality.  All in all, Jenna is patting her back for organizing what is sure to be a flawless trip, the vacation of a lifetime.

The Carlsons have barely stepped foot on the beach, however, before tensions start running high.  Jenna's gritting her teeth over her daughter's surly attitude, Ingrid's insufferable begging for advice on novel-writing, Solly's irritating monologues, her husband's clandestine phone calls, and a budding romance between teenagers Clementine and Malcolm.  Jenna wants everything to go smoothly, but her perfect vacation is slowly turning into a perfect nightmare ...

Back in February, I made a Top Ten Tuesday list about vacation-gone-wrong novels that I wanted to readTomorrow There Will Be Sun, a debut adult novel by YA writer Dana Reinhardt, was on that list because it fits the bill.  While the problems the Carlsons experience on their getaway trip were interesting enough to keep me reading, I can't say I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are almost wholly unlikable, Jenna being especially obnoxious.  Although they do learn some valuable lessons from their beach vacation, the overall vibe of Tomorrow There Will Be Sun is negative and depressing.  When I closed the book, I found myself asking, "What was the point of that?"  It's not that I think the novel is poorly written—it's not—it just didn't appeal much to me overall.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. Pass on this one. I do like a vacation book and I don't mind some issues but that sounds like way too many. I think I'd feel very much the same as you did on this one with the "what's the point" feeling.

    1. Yeah, I like hopeful endings. This one just seemed ... pointless.

  2. I have a hard time with books when I don't like the characters most times. I don't think that this sounds like one for me.

    1. Agreed. Unlikable characters irritate me, especially if they remain that way throughout the book. I can handle an unlikable character if I know they're going to change through the events of the story. Otherwise? No thanks.

  3. This one is in the TBR pile closest to me. I like the premise, sorry it didn't live up.

    1. I'll be interested to see what you think of it. I always wonder if it's just me that doesn't care for a book ...

  4. I think it is also hard to read about people's drama on vacation when we are not able to vacation ourselves!

    1. Ha! For real. If I was in a fancy beach house in Puerto Vallarta right now, I wouldn't be complaining about a thing!

  5. Sorry this one ended up being so negative and depressing. Not the book you need to read these days, is it? Hope your next one is better. And hey, at least you can check books out of your library again! :D

    1. So, I actually read this one back in February before the world went completely bonkers. I think I would find it negative and depressing no matter what, but I don't think it's one I would pick up now.

      And, you're right, I can check out library books again. Well, not quite, but soon. Starting next week, we can request books and pick them up curbside when they come in. I'm so excited!

  6. This sounds like one that might work better in a "normal" world, one nothing much like the one we're living in right now. I'm finding myself reluctant to start novels that may be downers or reminders of years in the past that I remember as bad times. I've been looking at the one on top of my TBR list right now, a book that looks at 1968, LBJ, the protesters, and everything going on back then. I keep grabbing the book under it, so it may be sitting on top the stack for a long time. Just can't face it right now.

    1. It's weird - I feel like I only want to read light books right now, but I'm still picking up ones I know will be heavier reads. In my defense, some of my favorite mystery/thriller authors have just published new books, but still ... I really should read lighter books right now. I have been enjoying cozy mysteries lately, though. They're light, easy reads that don't weigh heavily on me!

  7. I do enjoy vacation stories, but I think I will pass on this one. It is an author I am not familiar with and don't need to add another to my already teetering Mount TBR.


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