where the writers are
Is This Tomorrow By Caroline Leavitt
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Skip Horack
San Francisco Chronicle

Caroline Leavitt's "Is This Tomorrow" succeeds on many levels - most obviously, perhaps, as a mystery novel, but also as an arresting portrait of bygone America.

It's 1956. Against the backdrop of the Red Scare, divorced single mother Ava Lark rents a home in suburban Boston with her 12-year-old son, Lewis. Though looking for a fresh start - her own slice of the American dream - Ava finds herself ostracized by the majority of her new neighbors, a judgmental and anti-Semitic lot who disapprove of beautiful and outgoing Ava pretty much on sight. And Lewis doesn't fare much better. His only new friends are a pair of across-the-street siblings - Jimmy and Rose Reardon - who are fatherless, and thus more or less outcasts, themselves.

Enter the mystery. The strong bond that forms between Lewis, Jimmy and Rose is shattered when Jimmy disappears without a trace one afternoon. There will be no plot spoilers here, but Leavitt does a masterful job of building suspense as the terrifying story of what happened to Jimmy is slowly and skillfully revealed.