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. Thankyou Beauty&Lace HQ and Jennifer L Armentrout for the opportunity to read If there’s no tomorrow.
    Having five early adult grandchildren I read this book feeling that what happened to Lena could happen to anyone, and that it would be important for everyone to read how one mistake can impact lives forever.
    The story is told through the words of a young adult girl Lena,
    Lena has a great friendship with three other girls, a caring Mum,an absent Dad, and a very special best friend Sabastian who lives next door..
    Living the social life of teenagers Lena makes one mistake that results in tragic consequences and leaves her fighting for her life. Her friends and family are all torn apart and as Lena struggles through her traumatic circumstances she is so consumed by her guilt that she shuts out everyone that is close to her leaving them shattered.. Sabastian refuses to be ignored. (everyone should be lucky enough to have a Sabastian ) and continues to push his way into Lena’s life and when she eventually makes it home and back to school is by her side although Lena is hiding a secret guilt and continues to push everyone away
    Through a lot of councilling and pressure from all close to her Lena finally sees that there are many others effected by this tragedy and they don’t see ithe guilt and secret Lena is hiding the same as she does..
    Sabastian finally reveals a secret of his own ,which in turn results in Lena finally talking to her friend and family about all she has bottled up inside,releasing her a little from the confusion and guilt she has held so close inside.
    This book reinforces all to think through each action that doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do,and value the thoughts of the people who love you.
    I gave this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ For it’s very important message.

  2. Jennifer L Armentrout’s If There’s No Tomorrow is a powerful read addressing really important issues, particularly for teenagers and young adults but relevant for everyone. Lena learns these lessons the hard way and we follow her journey through some horrendously tough times. The book illustrates how life can change in the blink of an eye. And sometimes we take risks and are fine and other times those risks come with staggering consequences.

    I was rapidly drawn into this story and I could have read it all in one go if life hadn’t have got in the way! Lena was a very real, relatable character and her best friend Sebastian, we should all have a Sebastian next door!

    I loved this book, engaging characters and a very important message. I’d highly recommended it. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity!

  3. If There’s No Tomorrow is written by #1 New York Times bestseller Jennifer L. Armentrout. Armentrout is an established writer on the young adult scene, having penned a number of paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and romance series books. Armentrout’s latest is a standalone contemporary young adult novel that covers some series issues from underage drinking, family relationships, loss and guilt. Due to the main subject matter, If There’s No Tomorrow is a book that can easily be read by a young adult and general adult audience.

    I really liked the enticing tagline “A single choice can change everything” which is attached to the front of the colourful cover of If There’s No Tomorrow. This bold and slightly cryptic statement served to draw me into the first novel I have read by prolific author Jennifer L. Armentrout. The first two pages of the novel seem to indicate a terrible incident occurred where the narrator, Lena, has been seriously hurt. The audience, along with Lena, do not know what happened to her and why. This hooking opening works to suck the reader into the unfolding story to come. It is a story that is heartbreaking, sad, moving, tender and poignant. It also comes with a powerful underlying message.

    I greatly appreciated the narrative structure of If There’s No Tomorrow. The book comes with a dramatic and puzzling opening. The chapters in the novel are divided into a timeline. Yesterday covers Lena’s life before the incident that changes her life. Today is all about the incident Lena finds herself involved in. Tomorrow encompasses the aftershocks to Lena’s incident. The book is also told through the sole point of view of Lena, our main protagonist. As a result, we get a good solid picture of Lena’s innermost thoughts, feelings and an in depth overview of her life in general. Armentrout has outlined her primary character very well. She is able to authentically capture voice of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood but there were times I felt a little detached and annoyed by Lena’s narration, not being a teenage girl myself! However, we get a firm impression of Lena’s family situation (the daughter of estranged parents and an absent father), her massive crush on best friend Sebastian, her interests, hopes for the future and her key friendships. Lena is supported by a lesser defined cast of secondary characters, with the exception of Sebastian. I thought Sebastian came across as crystal clear. Sebastian was a character who is a mixture of both charming and slightly ignorant but all in all, he seemed like the typical teenage boy.

    The romance side of this novel leans more on the sweet, slow and steady style teen love. It never crosses the line to hot and heavy, which is perfect for younger teen readers. Armentrout devotes plenty of time to making Lena’s largely unresolved feeling for her crush, best friend and neighbour Sebastian known. When the book takes a drastic swerve in main events, the sweet developing romance is swept to the side, to make way for more serious issues. Overall though, the love story between Lena and Sebastian didn’t quite sweep me off my feet.

    Kudos to Armentrout for taking on a topical, relevant and vital issue that needs continual awareness raising as the focal point for her novel. Without spelling out the issue for fear of ruining the plot for future readers, I will say Armentrout shows how anyone can make a poor decision in the circumstances in which our lead is placed and the outcome can be just as devastating as Lena’s. The exploration of the mindset surrounding survivors guilt was particularly moving in this novel, as was the therapy and healing process involved in the aftermath of Lena’s situation. I also appreciated the direction in which Armentrout took to her main subject, it was quite direct and had a ring of truth. This contributed to the sense that all readers, both young adult and adult, will be able to find a link to If There’s No Tomorrow in their own lives.

    *I wish to thank Beauty and Lace/the publisher Harlequin Books Australia for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  4. If There’s No Tomorrow is a must read for young people and parents!
    A profound statement perhaps but this story has a very basic powerful message as learnt by Lena, Sebastian and their circle of friends along with their school community.
    Lena makes a quick decision to join friends leaving an event and reading between the lines did bow to peer pressure when she could/should have stood her ground.
    I am finding this difficult to put into words and review as it has had an impact on me.
    Lives changes, views changes along with friendship. Some tearing apart and needing to be worked on and others drawing closer together.
    As it has impacted me just by the read I need to say there is so much to this story.
    Parent relationships, giving too much freedom perhaps where parties are involved, counselling, friendships and being a teenager. So many lessons!
    A read to touch your heart! ❤️

  5. “If There’s No Tomorrow” is a powerful YA novel that turns on a choice that most teenagers have to make at some point. Lena, our 17 year old heroine, makes her choice – one countless other teenagers have made – and then watches as events unfold in a way that will change her life, and those of her friends, forever.

    Lena is a really well drawn character, an absolutely believable teenager who is very much a person of today – for example, she uses a mobile phone and social media without a second thought, as do her friends, although they have real and vivid lives off screen as well. Strong characterisation is one of the things that makes this novel so involving. Each character is distinct, a real person, and Armentrout makes you empathise with pretty much everyone in the novel.

    Armentrout uses an easy and flowing writing style that draws the reader in and pulls you along. Although the characters talk in a very realistic way, she avoids the kind of slang that will date next week. This novel will remain relevant and readable for quite a long time.

    This is not an easy novel to read in some places, purely because it’s so emotionally affecting. However, it is extremely accessible. Although aimed at a younger audience, adult readers should also enjoy and appreciate it, due to the vivid characterisations, strong emotional pulse, and realistic plotting.

    There’s a pretty clear message in the novel – well, several, actually – but Armentrout doesn’t preach or talk down to her intended audience. To be honest, the messages are very relevant to adult audiences too. This is a thought provoking novel that will make you re-examine your choices and how you look at the people around you.

    This is the kind of novel that I want to recommend unreservedly to almost everyone I know. Very few people would fail to be affected by it; it’s a memorable story that readers will carry with them for quite a while; and its’ kindness to the characters, and perceptiveness about human nature, is something we could all do with a bit more of in our lives.

  6. with so much already written about the story and the actual story what can I say. I can understand how Lena feels , but to be honest in the course of life, have we not all, at one time or other made a decision, that later we wish we had not done so. this one of course does have some very hard hitting facts with it, and is a book I recommend all to read, with or without teen children as really in the course of life, I feel we may not have made the exact decision in the book, but who can say they have not made one at all, and then thought later … oh no……

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to read If There’s No Tomorrow. This was a really thought provoking book that I would recommend for anyone. It’s a case of if I do this what could happen versus the alternative.

    This is Lena’s story – she’s a typical teenage girl, obsessed with her best male friend Sebastian, and paying attention to every little thing he does for signs he may be interested in her. She has some good female friends and a few family issues – nothing too out of the ordinary.

    One night, one decision and Lena’s life is changed. Things can never be the same and everyone has to pick up the pieces. Lena can’t remember all of what happened and this is the first step. When she does realise she needs some help processing what happened. She does tend to forget she’s not the only whose life has changed and cuts herself off from most of her friends. Sebastian won’t let her shut herself away from him and their relationship alters for good. With the assistance of some therapy Lena finds ways to deal with the changes as best she can and let others in which starts the healing process.

    This is a book which goes through stages and is not neatly tied up at the end. It’s more like real life which makes it all the more thought provoking. This would be a great book for a book club as there a re many discussion points on both before and after.

  8. A well written story of a very real life situation. This story explored the life of teenagers and how they live and sadly how some die in unfortunate circumstances due to bad choices. The story is mainly focused on Lena and Sebastian and how there lives have evolved from young children to young adults. It touches on friendship, love and loss and leads the reader into how this is handled and how it affects them.

    It was a thought provoking book of how parents deal with teenagers and the unfortunate choices they allow their children to live and for some die by. It explores how teenagers handle situations and interactions between one another. There is an element that as privileged teenagers they are somehow exempt from anything bad happening to them and that things will always just happen and go well.

    An all round good read for young people and adults, it does make you think about some of the things we all do as teenagers and is a powerful read to cement in what can happen in the blink of an eye and what can be lost forever. It also has a sweet side that looks at young love developing and the importance of friends.

    I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little different. Thank you for the opportunity to read Jennifer Armentrout latest book. Look forward to finding other books written by this author.

  9. A very well written book… not a Sunday arvo read, but a very interesting novel.

    The novel was very powerful in putting across a strong message to young adults.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I reckon young youth would also really like it.

    Thanks for giving me the chance to read this.

  10. Wow ! This book will stay with me for a very long time…….

    This book touches many young adult themes, themes too difficult to talk about sometimes.
    All i can say is poor Lena, the story is told through her eyes.

    This is a must read for all Young Adults.

    Congratulations Jennifer on a story well told.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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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