Add Emma Straub (All Adults Here; The Vacationers) to the list of authors who have taken on the mind-bending topic of time travel, which she does with great aplomb in This Time Tomorrow. Her protagonist, Alice Stern, is the daughter of Leonard Stern, author of Time Brothers, a sci-fi work "about brothers who time-travel and solve low-level crimes." Straub, with her expert light touch, writes that Alice has lived in the same Brooklyn apartment since age 25 after having "limped through art school as slowly as she could." Fifteen years later, she works in admissions at her old private school, and divorced Leonard is dying. But then a twist: on the night before her 40th birthday, she wakes up in 1996, about to turn 16, with healthy Leonard, nearly 50 years old, offering her Oreos for breakfast.
What follows is a poignant take on a familiar question: What if one could go back and change the course of history? It's not an original concept, but Straub puts her spin on it with the same endearing charm evident in her previous novels, such as Modern Lovers. Readers will root for Alice as she tries to change her father's fate and win the love of a high school classmate. And Straub has fun recalling the pre-Google '90s, when one got movie times by calling Moviefone and office workers had computers "the size of a Fiat." This Time Tomorrow is a warm-hearted tribute to the value of simple pleasures and the fragile beauty inherent in every moment. --Michael Magras, freelance book reviewer