Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing If I See You Again Tomorrow by Robbie Couch. I loved Couch’s book that released last year, and I was so happy to get an eARC of this one too.
From the author of The Sky Blues and Blaine for the Win comes a speculative young adult romance about a teen stuck in a time loop that’s endlessly monotonous until he meets the boy of his dreams.
For some reason, Clark has woken up and relived the same monotonous Monday 309 times. Until Day 310 turns out to be…different. Suddenly, his usual torturous math class is interrupted by an anomaly—a boy he’s never seen before in all his previous Mondays.
When shy, reserved Clark decides to throw caution to the wind and join effusive and effervescent Beau on a series of “errands” across the Windy City, he never imagines that anything will really change, because nothing has in such a long time. And he definitely doesn’t expect to fall this hard or this fast for someone in just one day.
There’s just one how do you build a future with someone if you can never get to tomorrow?
***Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
This book ended up being so much more than I expected it to be. Based on the marketing, I anticipated this story being a cute YA romance about being stuck in a time loop together. While in general those elements were present, this book felt much more focused on the individual journey of Clark and his work to deal with some personal issues in order to improve his mental health.
The focus on loneliness surprised me. However, it was the perfect thing to explore using a time loop. Every day the same things happen over and over again but no one else remembers. You can meet new people and make new friends, but tomorrow they’ll never know you. I’d never stopped to think about how isolating that experience would be, and this story made that loneliness feel so overwhelmingly heartbreaking at times.
Clark was a really compelling character to follow through these loops. Even before getting trapped in the same day, he was incredibly lonely and stuck in his feelings regarding the divorce of his parents. Out of the blue, his therapist recommended four steps to be less lonely, which started a chain of events that upended his usually predictable day. As he attempted to work on the steps, Clark learned how to be vulnerable with others, help others, and bravely take actions he feared. Despite his new friends forgetting him each day, Clark intentionally forged valuable relationships that helped him grow as a person, and it was so heartwarming to read it happen. All of the side characters stole my heart, from the frumpy therapist to the random theater clerk aspiring to be an actor. They were all well thought out, and I loved getting to learn more about them in each successive iteration of Clark’s day.
The one place this book faltered a little for me was the romance. I honestly think the book would have been just as good, maybe even better, without it. Clark barely spent any time at all with Beau, and their feelings for each other were super instalove. Beau is also the one character that I didn’t get to know that well. He was barely in the book, and his quick change of heart at the end of the story was a bit too forced. All of the other characters felt incredibly real to me, but Beau seemed more like a plot device than a person. Maybe having a few intervening chapters from his POV would have helped? I honestly don’t know, but I wouldn’t have been mad if the romance had been left out of the story.
All in all, this was a heartwarming story about a boy learning how to improve his well-being by making meaningful connections with others and expressing his difficult emotions in healthy ways rather than being trapped in a bubble of stagnant isolation. The time loop was the perfect plot device to explore these topics. I just wish there had been a bit more meat to the romance. Therefore, I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.