Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham
"Hey," she says as I open the door. She looks really fed up. She isn't smiling and her eyes aren't as sparkly as usual. She's probably regretting that she offered to help me. She probably has a million other, better things she'd rather be doing. Like her homework. She'd probably rather be doing her homework than talking to me about what it means to be a refugee.
14-year-old Stevie is having it rough. Her dad has passed away, leaving her mum severely depressed so she is unable to work. Stevie has a passion for her dad's music and that is what gets her by in tough times.
Hafiz is a football-loving refugee from Syria. After his friend is hurt in a terrifying accident, Hafiz's parents had to send him away. He has been mistreated on the boat journey and arrives, scarred, in the UK.
Can these teens from two different worlds solve their problems together?
This novel is named after a famous 70's song by Fleetwood Mac. This great title fits the storyline of the book; Stevie is going through so much and she needs to forget her past and look towards the future. She is named after one of the women in the band.
Each chapter within Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow varies between the characters' points of view. I have always enjoyed this layout because there are two sides to every story and I like getting inside people's heads.
This narrative is about a charmingly unlikely friendship; each character is being continuously tormented by an inner struggle and they help each other through it. The bond between Hafiz and Stevie is unique. It began as forced and awkward, but it grew. However, though they are close, they do not have a romantic relationship which is a relief in some ways; they could fight, break up and never talk to each other again.
I developed empathy for both of the main characters. Stevie struggles at school and at home, so I felt sad for her. I can relate to Stevie in a handful of ways. I have a passion for music just like her. It can help us through times when we are feeling down. Her talent comes in handy because later in the story, she has to busk for money. Stevie is poor because after her father's death, her mother became miserable which had obvious consequences.
Hafiz is picked on at school because he is a Syrian refugee. When playing soccer, he is rudely ignored and taunted by David Price, one of his team-mates. In fact, when it is obvious that Hafiz is in line for the perfect goal, David ignores him and tries to shoot, himself. Later, Price uses cruel stereotypes about Syrians and Hafiz responds by pushing him over. Hafiz's social situation is dire.
Stevie owns a book that her dad created when she started buying Justin Bieber. It is called, 'Stevie's Little Book of Big Song Wisdom' and it is very special to her. I like how the author has created a Spotify playlist with all of the songs featured in Stevie's collection. She holds it very close to her heart because it is one of the only things her father left behind.
This is an extremely emotional and confronting book and to understand and enjoy it, children need to feel for the characters. It also has mention of a teenage problem involving puberty, insults about rapists and terrorists, plus talk of relationships. Therefore, I recommend Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow to kids aged 12+.
This is a thoughtful and utterly beautiful story of friendship that is literally begging for a sequel (or even better, a prequel). I give Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow five bookbolts out of five.
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd