A private Mexican villa is the backdrop to this smart, absorbing story of a milestone vacation in a tropical paradise gone wrong, wrong, wrong
Two families arrive in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Jenna has organized the trip to celebrate her husband's fiftieth birthday--she's been looking forward to it for months. She's sure everything is going to be just perfect--and the margarita refills delivered by the house staff certainly don't hurt, either. What could go wrong?
Yet as the families settle into their vacation routines, their best friends suddenly seem like annoying strangers, and even Jenna's reliable husband, Peter, is sharing clandestine phone calls with someone--but who? Jenna's teenage daughter, Clem, is spending an awful lot of time with Malcolm, whose questionable rep got him expelled from school. Jenna's dream of the ultimate celebration begins to crack and eventually crumbles completely, leaving her wondering whom she can trust, and whether her privileged life is about to be changed forever.
Readers of Emma Straub, Meg Wolitzer and Delia Ephron will love this sharply funny novel. Whether you're putting it in your carry-on to read on the beach or looking to escape the dead-of-winter blues, Tomorrow There Will Be Sun is the perfect companion.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A perfectly prepared margarita (rocks, salt, subtle with the triple sec, less so with the tequila) placed in your hand when you didn’t even ask, with an itty-bitty half lime floating up top, something local, grown just down the street where the patchy pavement gives way to dirt, which then surrenders to jungle, can almost take the edge off a day of truly shitty airport mishaps. Let’s not recount them. Airport mishaps are dull. They’re like dreams. We convince ourselves that ours are potboilers, cliffhangers, whodunits. They’re not. And yet, despite the entirely predictable debacle that was our direct flight from LAX to PVR, in business class no less because those were the only seats left for which we could use miles and so drained our entire account, we still managed to arrive at Villa Azul Paraiso before the Solomons.
They should have been here more than an hour ago, so I’m sure they’ll breeze in any minute dying to share their own travel horror stories. But if Roberto—who greeted us in a freshly pressed white zip-up coat that looks like it belongs to a doctor, not the house manager of a luxury Mexican beach rental—hands them margaritas of the same caliber as the one I am currently sipping, perhaps they’ll get distracted and spare us the details.
Clementine and Peter have gone off exploring. The villa’s wide whitewashed open corridors stretch out in either direction. There are two bedrooms to the right and three to the left, including the master with the rain forest shower and soaking tub carved from volcanic rock. They all have views of the ocean. Every inch of this house does. It’s built tall, wide and shallow, with no walls on the ocean side save for the bedrooms, and built on a curve that matches that of the private beach below. The kitchen and dining room sit one floor down. Up a flight is a deck with a hot tub and chairs for stargazing. And on the ground floor: Ping-Pong tables—two of them in case you want to get a proper tournament going—and the swimming pool. I’m standing in the villa’s main living room. It’s one of three, and the only one with comfortable furniture. I know all of this because I studied the website for this place like I was studying for the GREs, which is the last time I studied for anything.
Clem comes bounding in, bikini clad, demonstrating the kind of enthusiasm I was hoping for when we first told her about this trip to celebrate her father’s fiftieth. But she had quickly calculated that this trip meant she wouldn’t see Sean or her friends for seven whole days, and that those seven whole days would fall on spring break, when there would be parties or hangouts that she would never recover from missing, and she didn’t much care that every room has ocean views, or that every bedroom has its own bathroom, or that there would be three meals a day prepared by a full-time staff.
Except for the ocean views, this pretty much summed up her life back at home.
“The wi-fi here is sick,” she says. “I sent Sean a pic of the view from my room and he texted back, like, in seconds.”
“What did he say?”
She ignores my question. It was a dumb one, but I’m tired from the airline snafus and I’m sucking up the last few drops of a midday margarita, so admittedly, I’m a little off my game.
“I’m going to go lie by the pool.”
The pool is only ten feet from the beach, and there’s a faucet to wash the sand off your feet before you dive in so you don’t clog the drain. I walk to the balcony to take a look. Yep, there it is: two floors below, shaped like a kidney, with six cushioned loungers and palapa umbrellas that won’t provide the kind of UV protection my nearly albino daughter needs.
“Sunblock,” I say.
“Duh,” she replies and trails off down the central staircase.
Roberto returns with a pitcher. “More for you? And one for the mister?”
Why not? I let him fill my glass halfway so it’ll look like I’m still nursing my first margarita when Peter returns from escorting our bags to the master bedroom. I take one for him, too, even though he’s more of a bourbon guy.
“Muchas gracias,” I tell Roberto. He smiles, nods and disappears.
I stand at the railing and take in the vast blue of the ocean and a deep breath of the warm perfumed air. I look down at Clem who sits in a chair with her back to the beach, staring at her phone.
Peter comes up behind me, kisses my shoulder and takes the margarita from my hand. “FaceTime with Sean?”
“What could they possibly have left to say to each other?”
“I can’t imagine.”
He takes a long sip of his drink. His shirt is soaked through with sweat. “Ahh. This is nice.”
“Did you check out the volcanic tub?”
“No. That sounds unpleasant.”
“You don’t bathe in lava. It’s volcanic rock. It’s supposed to be good for the pH balance in your skin. Or something.”
“It’s in the master bath. Along with the rain forest shower.”
“Oh. I didn’t really look. I put our bags in the bedroom that way.” He points to the right. “It has a gorgeous view.”
“Every room has a gorgeous view. That’s the whole thing about this house.” I point to the left. “But the master is that way. Quick—let’s grab it before they get here.” I start to make my way toward the left-wing bedrooms even though I already know how this is going to end, and it is not going to end with me soaking in a volcanic tub.
“I thought we’d leave that one for Solly and Ingrid.”
“Jen.” He’s already defensive.
I have a choice. I can point out that we are paying exactly 50 percent of the not insubstantial rent on this house. I can point out that I’m the one who found this particular villa, that Ingrid sent links to places shy a bedroom or with half-mile hikes down treacherous cliffs to unswimmable beaches. I can point out that even though Peter is six months older than his best friend and business partner, he defers to Solly like a browbeaten younger brother. I can point out that the Solomons vacation far more often than we do and never spare expense; that luxury like this is commonplace to them, and so we deserve that fucking rain forest shower and volcanic tub because it will be fucking special to us.
In short, I could choose to start an epic battle a mere fifteen minutes into our holiday.
Instead I say, “But it’s your fiftieth birthday.”
“Solly’s, too,” he replies.
I don’t say any more. This trip is meant to celebrate both, but Solly’s birthday isn’t until October and Peter’s is on Wednesday, and any way you cut it, it’s just not the same, and we both know it.
“And besides”—he rubs my arm a little—“that side has the three bedrooms so the boys won’t need to share. It makes more sense like this.”
I also don’t point out that Ivan, who’s five years old, still sleeps with his parents. And that even though Ingrid claims he stopped breast-feeding last summer, I suspect he still sneaks in a good suck in the middle of the night when Solly’s fast asleep.
I sigh. “Fine.”
Peter leans in for a kiss. “You’re the best.”
Just as this peace is forged, the bell chimes. Once. Twice. Then Solly’s thunderous voice: “Hellooooo? Anybody home?”
Roberto opens the door balancing a tray of margaritas. The taxi driver is there, too, helping with the luggage. Seven bags for the four of them. Solly peels a few bills from a large roll of pesos he has stuffed in his pocket. I read in our guidebook that it isn’t customary to tip taxi drivers unless they go the extra mile, like helping you with luggage or unloading groceries, and in that case a few dollars should suffice. Though I’m still working out the exchange rate, I can tell from the driver’s face as he accepts the cash that Solly didn’t read about, or doesn’t care about, what’s customary.
Ingrid passes on the drink, but Solly takes his and downs half of it before coming straight for me, arms outstretched.
“Hello, gorgeous.” He squeezes a little too hard, but that’s the Solly way. His hair is expertly gelled. His light blue linen shirt is dry and crisp, like he ducked into the airport lounge for a shower and shave. He steps back, takes in the view and raises his drink before polishing off the rest of it. “Hello, beautiful house! Hello, dream vacation! Hello, second half century of life!”
Solly and Peter embrace and slap backs. Peter kisses Ingrid on both cheeks. Ivan lets me pick him up and he hands me some sort of LEGO robot for inspection before quickly snatching it back again. Ingrid’s long dangly earring gets caught in my hair and it takes Solly’s help to untangle us. All the while, Malcolm stands on the perimeter, fumbling through his backpack.
I haven’t seen Malcolm since my last trip to New York to visit Maureen nearly two years ago. He’s grown a half foot and now sports facial hair that, despite its haphazard look, is probably carefully curated. He’s still got the same big, sad eyes.
He looks up from his bag and gives me a shy smile. He takes a few tentative steps toward me, and in an effort to minimize his suffering, I keep the hug quick and businesslike, trying not to give anything away about how it feels to see the little boy I used to know suddenly standing before me a full-grown man at seventeen.
Look, I have a daughter who is right now sitting by the pool filling out a bikini in the most enviable way when it was only yesterday she paired a striped Hanna Andersson tent dress with polka dot leggings. Change happens. I know it all too well.
“I want a snack.”
Ingrid crouches down so she’s eye level with Ivan. “Let’s get settled in and then we’ll get you something pronto. Okay?”
Ingrid looks from Ivan to me with an apologetic shrug. “It’s something he just says sometimes. I’m not sure why.”
“I want a snack now,” Ivan whines. “I’m huuungry.”
Roberto reappears, this time with a bowl of chips, some guacamole and a plate of sliced mango. He’s with another man: younger, shorter, heavier and wearing the same white zip-up coat, only his is slightly dingy.
“Please. I will help you with the bags,” the younger man says, grabbing two in each hand.
Peter points toward the bedrooms to the left. “Let’s take them that-a-way.”
Solly sticks out his hand. “Hi there. I’m Solly.”
The man puts two of the bags down and wipes his palm on his jacket. “Enrique.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Vacation Lit is a thing and I am a sucker for it. Two families arrive in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Jenna has organized the trip to celebrate her husband’s fiftieth birthday–she’s been looking forward to it for months. She’s sure everything is going to be just perfect–and the margarita refills delivered by the house staff certainly don’t hurt, either. What could go wrong? – Indiebound A lot, but not in the way you expect. I imagined a kidnapping or a murder or some psychotic episode but this vacation goes wrong in the way many vacations go wrong; small, subtle clues that all is not what you pictured and that life is about to get challenging. Annoying, perfect friends, a husband who spends too much time working even while on vacation, teens who go off to do their own thing only to leave their parents worrying about their whereabouts. And then in the midst of it all, a full staff of servants who become reluctant witnesses to it all falling apart. I love vacation lit. I don’t travel much so when an author takes me to another country through her writing and keeps me turning those pages, then I consider it a win. I was entertained and the story was realistic in what could happen on a vacation like this one. I felt as if I got to know the characters pretty well and the pace felt right. If you enjoy vacation lit, give Tomorrow There Will Be Sun a try.
This one left me feeling a bit conflicted about how much I truly enjoyed the book. I can't say I really liked any of the characters but yet I did have an interest in finding out what was going to happen in their lives. I guess I can file this one under the category of it was an okay way to pass the time but I probably won't remember much about this book within a couple months. Jenna arrives in Puerto Vallarta to celebrate her husband's 50th birthday with her family. They will be sharing a house with her husband's business partner Solly, and his wife and kids. But this dream vacation isn't going to be a ton of fun for everyone, especially Jenna. This is one of those stories in which it really seems like nothing much happens but yet everything changes. There's some build up to the big drama that happens near the end of the book but in some ways I felt the ending needed more work. I don't need everything to be wrapped up in an ending but in this case it felt rushed. The book is a quick read and I definitely think the author could have devoted some more pages to the last few chapters. There's nothing significantly wrong with the book but in my opinion there's nothing that really stands out about it either. Maybe if you have more in common with the main character it will be a more meaningful read. One thing is for certain, if these characters were real, you couldn't pay me enough to go on vacation with them! I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.