Book Club: If There’s No Tomorrow

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Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
ISBN: 9781489242174
RRP: $19.99
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

If There’s No Tomorrow is an important story for young people to read, actually it’s pretty important for all of us. This is a young adult novel but a story that should appeal to readers of many ages. It’s a contemporary tale with elements of romance, friends to lovers and family drama but it also sends an important message about how easily things can change.

Jennifer L. Armentrout is an author I had not read before, she has quite a fan following and writes across genres though I hadn’t heard of her. In If There’s No Tomorrow she tackles an important subject, one that we all need to be aware of. Yes there are other books out there tackling the same subject matter but I think that’s always going to be the case. I quite enjoyed her approach for this one.

The blurb gives very little information about the story so I find myself sitting here stuck… there is so much to this story and so many points to make but very little in the blurb so I first need to work out where my spoilery line in the sand is.

The back of the book is quite ambiguous, leaving you with a wealth of possibilities for what’s to happen within the pages. How many single decisions are there that can change the entire life path of a girl about to embark on her senior year? Yup, there’s an awful lot.

Lena Wise is preparing for her senior year, working as a waitress, hoping for a college scholarship and looking forward to spending as much time with her friends as possible. She is a sensible girl who loves to read and has always tried to make the right decisions. She lives at home with her mum, her older sister is away at college and her parents divorced years ago.

Let me first focus on Lena, she’s our protagonist and she’s a perfectly relatable and realistic teen; especially to me with the voracity of her reading. Yes, she’s perfectly realistic and relatable but that doesn’t mean she isn’t also ridiculously annoying at times, but as an adult looking back… what teen isn’t. She is focused on her studies and what she wants to do with her life after high school. She shares a lot with her close friends but she is also quite a closed book who prefers to avoid dealing with things when it gets too tough.

Lena has more than a little crush and she thought she’d been doing a great job of hiding it from all of those closest to her, turns out that she’s not as good at hiding stuff as she thought. She spends a lot of time obsessing and a lot of time trapped inside her head over-thinking every conversation hoping to see something that hasn’t been there in all of the years they have been friends.

There is a snippet of prologue to add suspense and leave you wondering about the big decision but not enough information to really grasp at what it could be. The book is then split into Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow as time frames rather than actual days.

I finished the book a couple of days ago and life has made it a little difficult to actually sit and formulate coherent thought about it. Thinking about it now and one of the things that sets this apart from a lot of the YA I have been reading is that we have only one protagonist, only one perspective.

If There’s No Tomorrow is all Lena, part of that is because she is very wrapped up in her own head early on and then later she is so consumed by what is going on with her that she loses sight of those around her, and the fact that she isn’t the only one suffering.

Character development is hard to define because Lena is extremely well developed, her best friend and neighbour Sebastian is explored with reasonable depth but the rest of Lena’s friends are only superficially sketched; part of that is their smaller role in the narrative but it would have been nice to understand them a little better.

I enjoyed If There’s No Tomorrow, I found myself invested in the story and the characters and though I found it hard to come to terms with some of the parental behaviour (now that I am the parent of a teenager) it was also behaviour that was not unheard of and not completely uncommon.

Armentrout writes of a life altering event from a perspective that we don’t always see; exploring themes of friendship, guilt and loss on the heartbreaking journey to moving on. There is actually a lot I want to say about this but without giving away major plot points it’s very difficult. None of the events here are ground-breakingly original and I’m sure we have all been in similar situations at some point; what made this stand out for me is the way it was approached, the way the fallout was managed and the effect on relationships as well as on people.

Jennifer L. Armentrout can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

If There’s No Tomorrow is published by HQ Young Adult and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading If There’s No Tomorrow so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

18 thoughts on “Book Club: If There’s No Tomorrow

  1. This is a story about Lena who is 17 years old and about to begin the senior year of high school. Her mother was left to look after her and her sister Lori when her father left 4 years ago. Lena is in love with her neighbour Sebastian, who is also her best friend. Lena’s life changes when she makes a wrong choice and she struggles to move on from what happened.
    This is definitely a story that will touch your hearts, it is heartbreaking but there are times of humour and also of fun. It definitely makes you think about the choices you make in life.
    I really loved this book and thought it was very well written and most definitely recommend it.
    Thank you to Harlequin Books Australia and also Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel.

  2. I found this to be a very good read, with more questions, than answers in some instances.
    Lena, the main character, is a typical teenager with a crush on the guy next door. She has had a rough time and doesn’t always know how to communicate how she is feeling. Rather she gets wound up in her own head and doesn’t discuss things with her friends.
    I found this great for anyone at any age as we all know someone that has teenagers, is a teenager, or will eventually have a teenager.
    The impact of the decisions we make, can literally either make or break us..
    This was a wonderful insight into a teenagers life and all of the things that come with that age.
    Thanks B&L for another great book.

  3. I loved this book and would recommend anyone with teenagers/young adults to give to them to read. Not only is it a beautiful but realistic story and sad it has the emotions running with Lena. Jennifer L Armentrout has written this so beautifully that it’s suitable for both male and female readers who like a love story with twists. I look forward to reading more books by this author

  4. I love Jennifers style of writing and this story is short and Sweet but will also wreck havoc on your soul and heart. Grief is deeply embedded within the story – and for those being left behind after a loved one dies is definitely not easy. The author wrote a powerful story = every emotion was felt within the pages, well penned and described .

    Jennifer described moving on when someone died, The deep emotions , the guilt and finding it hard to just move on. The depth of friendships, all intertwined, each seperate identities, and well detailed on paper.


    The romance between Sebastian and Lena was so heart warming, and as a lovey dovey kinda girl I grinned and saw hearts at the way in which he treated her . They had a relationship that was believable at best, and a friendship ,and the author defined well in the pages and story line.

    All the secondary characters had their place in the story. Overall, its a story that touches many hard subjects , a teenager growing up, decisions that need to be made and lessons learnt.

    Believable, thought provoking and for any age.

  5. I read quite a bit of YA fiction but more on the fantasy side so this was a bit of a transportation back to the books I read 10 years ago.
    If there’s no tomorrow is a story about one decision changing the course of your life which is true for both the teenagers this book focuses on and adults alike.
    Lena is a typical teenager wrapped up in her own little life but things happen and she really has to rethink everything. This book sends a pretty strong message but can easily be enjoyed by teenagers and adults alike. It’s a book that will make you think about the decisions you have made in your own life too.
    A great read, thanks Beauty and Lace and Harlequin.

  6. A very thought provoking book !
    Who ever said hind sight is a wonderful thing? We make decisions every day that could change our lives for the worse without give them proper thought! This book might just make us all stop and think about the choices we make.
    I really enjoyed If there’s no tomorrow. Thanks beauty and lace xx

  7. Thank you to beauty and lace and Harlequin for allowing me to review If There’s No Tomorrow.
    I really liked it even though it’s aimed at a younger audience.
    With every page I read I could feel the emotions coming out and as if I was actually in the story.
    I don’t want to give away any plot but I highly recommend this book.
    Very thought provoking and definitely makes you stop and think before making decisions.

  8. At first I thought it was a book for young girls until I realised it was about actions and consequences. I enjoyed the read if a little sad,

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