Title: Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
Author: Siobhan Curham
Genres: Young adult contemporary
Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum … and her mum’s depression. When Stevie’s mum’s disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father’s 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz’s parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie… As Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
Thank you so much to Walker Books for sending me a review copy of this book.
I was in a bit of a reading slump when I started Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, and it pulled me right out of that slump, and I ended up finishing the book in a little more than a day. This book is the perfect slump-beater. It’s easy to get into, a very quick-read, and the chapters are very short because you keep switching between perspectives which was perfect for me because I tend to get a little bored while reading long chapters, and lose my focus.
The mental health representation in this book is something I feel conflicted about. Stevie’s mother suffers from depression and anxiety and she spends all day in bed. I liked how the book explored therapy and medication, but I didn’t like how Stevie’s mum quite suddenly got better after changing her medication and going to therapy once. This is something that happens quite often in books and I feel like it’s quite harmful, because when I got ill, all of my friends expected me to be better in a couple of weeks. That obviously didn’t happen. We need to show that recovery is, often times, a long and slow process, and I wish we’d seen a little more of that in the book.
Stevie also talks about “catching her mom’s depression” in the book, which is also just a very harmful thing to say. Depression, nor any other mental illnesses, are contagious.
I loved both main characters, Hafiz and Stevie, and how passionate they both were for the things they loved. Hafiz about soccer and stories, and Stevie about music. I also really loved the friendship that blossomed between them, and even though there were definitely some hints at romance (spoiler) I’m honestly really glad this book solely focused on the friendship. We need more of that in YA.
A big thing that kept me from 100% loving this book though, was the fact that this book wasn’t ownvoices. From statistics I’ve seen it’s incredibly clear that not enough stories by people of color are published worldwide, and also in the UK, so the fact that this story that focused a lot on the refugee crisis in Syria wasn’t written by someone who’s lived through this experience feels wrong. And I couldn’t stop thinking about how much more real this book could’ve been.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that the author chose to shed light on such an important topic, and I really hope people are going to pay more attention to what’s going on because of it, but… yeah.
Overall, I did like reading the book and I’m incredibly grateful for the fact that it got me out of my slump, but there were definitely a few things that kept me from loving it.
(trigger warnings: depression, anxiety, racism, refugee crisis, stories about death)