If I See You Again Tomorrow by Robbie Couch
For some reason, Clark has woken up and relived the same monotonous Monday 309 times. Until Day 310 turns out to be…different. Suddenly, his usual torturous math class is interrupted by an anomaly—a boy he’s never seen before in all his previous Mondays.
When shy, reserved Clark decides to throw caution to the wind and join effusive and effervescent Beau on a series of “errands” across the Windy City, he never imagines that anything will really change, because nothing has in such a long time. And he definitely doesn’t expect to fall this hard or this fast for someone in just one day.
There’s just one problem: how do you build a future with someone if you can never get to tomorrow?
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster
LENGTH: 330 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Speculative Fiction
Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Closeted/Questioning Secondary Character(s).
I love time loop stories, and this was one of the better ones that I’ve read in a while. It begins after the protagonist, Clark, has already been in the loop for more than 300 days. It skips past the usual shock, realization, and eventual acceptance of the time loop, instead introducing him to the reader when the highlight of his day is figuring out to make for his sister’s party. This is definitely a story which assumes some familiarity with this basic tropes of time loop stories, taking advantage of the reader's likely familiarity to do something more interesting, while still explaining enough to make sense for someone new to this sub-genre.
The plot related to the tips for beating loneliness start out as this unexpected assignment, one of the early indications that something might be about to change. That list turns into a guide post, something he can use to make different choices when trying to get out of the loop. Because Beau is actively avoiding Clark after their first meeting, they don’t actually end up spending much time together. Instead, after they most of a day running Beau's errands, Clark is chasing Beau's shadow, retracing their steps. He wants to see him again, and doesn’t agree with Beau's theory that they should avoid each other, but tracking him down again proves harder than Clark anticipated. The idea of Beau permeates the book, as Clark gets to know some people Beau has known all his life, and some he only met right before the time loop began. It’s a story about loneliness and connection, the need to be vulnerable sometimes in order to let in someone new or find something good.
I love the in-universe explanation for how the time loops work. It clearly makes them a phenomenon that has happened to other people and will happen to more, something widespread enough for there to be a whole range of ideas about it on the internet (some far less useful than others). The theories are based on things that different people have observed, compiling together the stories of many people's experiences in time loops. The style of worldbuilding and access to the information means that no one comes down from on high to say exactly how time loops function, and why, but the directions for how to get out have enough detail for him to actually try.
This is great, a must-read for anyone who loves time loop stories and/or gay teenage romance.
Minor CW for sexual content, vomit, racism, infidelity, car accident, parental death, death.