The charm and intensity of the Barnes and Noble and Jimmy Fallon Book Club Pick, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Knopf) by Gabrielle Zevin will sneak up on you unsuspectedly and before you know it, you will be deep into a book about the coming of age of three young people that mirrors the coming of age of the video game industry.

After a devastating accident, Sam Mazur is in the hospital and hasn’t spoken to anyone in weeks. In walks Sadie Green and everything changes. Bonded over Super Mario Bros in the game room, the two become thick as thieves and ultimately inseparable young teens — a friendship for life. After a misunderstanding that keeps them apart for six years, the two gamers reconnect as college students in a subway station and their relationship rekindles over the idea of creating a video game together.

YOUNG PEOPLE GRAPPLE WITH IDENTITY

The friends don’t share class or backgrounds, yet their connection is strong. Sam (a Harvard student who is part Korean and Jewish) has had a difficult upbringing, lost his mother in an accident, and has a physical disability, all of which impacts how he feels about himself, his identity and where he fits in. Sadie (MIT student, Jewish American) — a woman in a man’s industry — has her own personal challenges and the two of them may not always succeed in having each other’s best interests in mind.

Sam’s roommate, Marx, (an intelligent yet directionless actor … and yes, this is where the Shakespearean title comes from) becomes indispensable to them as they work on all aspects of creating and selling their video game. With slightly different goals and aspirations and the need for recognition and money, along with a bit of jealousy, the complex relationships of Sam, Sadie and Marx wax and wane over the decades as they showcase their talents to the gaming world.

CHARACTER SHARES AUTHOR’S BACKGROUND

In her tenth novel, author Gabrielle Zevin does an incredible job developing her characters; showing how they are challenged by life tragedies, how they persist to achieve success, and how their relationships change and grow over time. Zevin’s writing exhibits her knowledge of gaming and this is her first book that has a Korean-Jewish character, like herself. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a smart, engaging coming-of-age story of love, friendships, ambition, mixed race, disability, personal growth and the intricacies of the video game world.

I enjoyed this book more than anticipated and recommend it highly! After reading this book my perspective on gaming has changed a bit, too. I see more of the positive qualities in gaming and can appreciate the intelligence, determination and talents of those who play, design and develop games.

This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with BookNationByJen. It first appeared here.

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Photo Credit: Hans Canosa

Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times best-selling and critically acclaimed author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Young Jane Young. She has also written books for young readers, including the award-winning, Elsewhere. Her books have been translated into thirty-nine languages. Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. She lives in Los Angeles. Her tenth novel, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is being developed into a feature film by Temple Hill and Paramount Studios.