December 10, 2007 12:00 PM

by Dedra Johnson |

REVIEWED BY BETH PERRY

NOVEL

Innocence, it seems, can be hard to crush: Nine-year-old Sandrine Miller—the straight-A student in 1970s New Orleans who narrates Johnson’s heartbreaking debut—is beaten by her mother, abandoned by her loving but restless father and sexually abused by two family friends. Yet she’s too young to realize the horror of it all; astonishingly, she remains unshakeably loyal to the grownups who let her down. Until the day she cracks: “I heard what sounded like a thick old voice but slowly recognized it as mine, full of tears, hoarse, broken by hiccup sobs.” The only thing this affecting story lacks is a bigger picture; wondering how the wounded Sandrine will fare as an adult, readers may be left wishing Tomorrow could write back.

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