Have you ever enjoyed a book so much that you avoid writing a review for it like you avoid the plague (or, in my house it would be the freaking laundry)? You find yourself doing things like a sink full of dirty dishes, sorting through old swimsuits to see which ones fit, and going through your kids' crafts to find that one stupid thing that is impossible to find because you don't want to ruin the book by reviewing it poorly. That's nuts, right?! I know. I know it's crazy as we're primarily a review blog and that's what we're here to do buttttttttttt I've been processing Into The Tomorrows for hours upon hours and I have so many thoughts and no idea exactly where to start or what to say except this: I think this is Whitney Barbetti's best work to date. I have no idea if birthing this book was laborious or effortless but what I do know is that feels inspired.
As I think back to my reading experience and take a look at a few scribbled notes I remember at the very beginning feeling a deep sense of sorrow, a smidgen of foreboding, and the tiniest undercurrent of hope. Trista couldn't catch a break--horrible mother, the death of her best friend, years of unrelenting grief--and it was when she moved to Colorado (to be with her boyfriend, Colin) that I began to feel a vague sense of hope, only to have it dashed when it became apparent that things weren't really getting better. It felt like Trista was in constant internal conflict with who she had been (grieving friend, distant girlfriend) and how she was perceived by the people who were supposed to love her vs. allowing herself to learn about who she could be or wanted to be and being honest with herself and everyone else. Sometimes Trista fought against herself and her instincts and other times, others seemed to fight against who she was struggling to be. It seemed like the 'old' Trista and the 'new-not-even- really fully discovered' Trista were in constant flux and it was interesting and rewarding to read her begin to actually discover some things about herself.
When thinking of her journey of discovery, any discussion of this would not be complete if we didn't talk about Jude. Sexy, mysterious, inspiring, mountain man/tent guy Jude. This guy, y'all, is almost perfection. He's kind and generous and supportive. He knows when to ask pushy, thought provoking questions, when to make probing statements, and when to sit back and listen. It's through Jude that we really get to see Trista begin to transform. He gives her the room to think and question and argue about things. He pushes her to see the truth about who she is and what's going on around her and yet he doesn't force these things on her. Jude is exactly the friend Trista needed in her life and no matter what was going on around me, when they were on the pages in front of me, I couldn't stop reading.
Another thing that I feel compelled to mention is how this novel feels like a love note to nature. The vivid way that Barbetti describes the hiking scenes in Colorado and Wyoming made me want to pack up some gear and hit all of the mountains in America (and I don't even really like camping!). I've been to Colorado and can attest to its absolutely devastating beauty and after reading this novel I am desperate to see more and maybe even hike (have I lost my mind?!).
As I reflect on all of the characters in Into the Tomorrows--Trista, Jude, Colin, and Mila--some of these characters are messed up, some of them are dishonest, some of them are damaged, one in particular is inspirational, and all of them work together to keep me on my toes the entire time I was reading. I knew halfway through this novel I'd be in major book hangover mode and I wasn't wrong. When I got to the last word some of these questions were answered: their knowing looks, the important things left out of dialogue, the exchange of glances--what was going on?! What were they not saying? Why the secrets?-- but now I have a bunch more:
I noticed a time lapse: 2008, 2011, is that excerpt of book 2 2016?
What happened to Trista? And Jude? (and even the douche Colin?) and Mila (how could she?!)?
Where did Trista go?
Does she learn more about who she is? And if so, how could she be where she is at the beginning of book 2--I had such high hopes.
Somehow her mother being out of her life seems too good to be true--will she come back to muck things up?
Will there be a meet up in June 2016?
What does Jude think about all of this?
So many questions. I wonder where Whitney Barbetti will take us in the next book and I've been obnoxiously tweeting at her because I am excited to know more (*waves at Whitney* sorry for being so obnoxious on Twitter with my mad love of ITT?!).
Want to know more about this book? Read the synopsis here:
I was born in sadness, which was just the beginning of a solemn and desolate life. I'm no stranger to pain—none of us are. The night I held my best friend's hand as she died, I understood true agony. And I never thought I'd feel happiness again.
But that was so long ago...
Moving to Colorado to be with Colin, my high school sweetheart, was the perfect way to start over and rekindle what had begun to fizzle. I wanted that spark to ignite, to burn in passion and desire. Instead, I found myself falling for Jude, my boyfriend's roommate. He’s the only person who understands my soul, who can breach the walls I’ve built. But I can't have him.
Because I'm Trista Kohl, and my destiny is sorrow.