Today Tonight Tomorrow
- Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Genre: YA Romance
- Publication Date: July 28, 2020
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
CONTENT WARNING: antisemitism
Today she hates him.
It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing over test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating academic nemesis one last time.
Tonight she puts up with him.
When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one more chance at victory: Howl, a senior-class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning that a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.
As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.
Tomorrow … maybe she’s already fallen for him.
I’ve had my eye on this book for so long, and decided to finally dive into it as part of my Jewish American Heritage Month reading. Others have mentioned that it was good, but I had no idea that I would fall in love with this book as much as I did. There’s so much about it that I loved, and nothing that I didn’t, so I’m just going to highlight the things about it that appealed most to me.
The Jewish representation. Rowan is Jewish, and while she doesn’t live in an area with a lot of other jewish people, she has managed to maintain ties to her faith and religious practices. Her family has Shabbat dinner on a weekly basis, and it doesn’t shy away from addressing antisemitism or inclusivity. These are issues that I was pleased to see included in the storyline, since they do occur, and the way that they were addressed felt so natural and incredibly realistic. Especially the discussion about “holiday parties:”
“‘Don’t you love it when people call it the holidays, or a holiday party, but everything’s red and green and there’s a fucking Santa?’ I say. ‘It’s like they think calling it ‘holiday’ makes them automatically inclusive, but they don’t want to put in the actual work of inclusion.’”
The diversity. Rowan herself is from a biracial background, and the supporting characters are also from diverse backgrounds, including Asian-American, LGBT, and Black. I loved the way that the dating relationship that develops between her two best friends is addressed, since it creates a new layer of complexity to the friendship between all three of them, adding some tension to the story.
The personal growth. At the beginning of the story, Rowan is struggling with the end of her high school era, and all of the changes that are associated with that. She had created a list of what she planned for herself to accomplish in high school, and realizes that nothing worked out the way she had planned, and slowly has to come to terms with that over the course of the book. But in addition, she realizes a lot about herself in a short amount of time.
“I don’t know how to explain to him that the longer I stay in the game, the longer I remain in high school, the longer I don’t have to face the reality that I didn’t turn into the person my fourteen-year-old self wanted to be.”
Rowan’s outspoken feminism. Rowan is a huge fan of romance novels, and deep down, she wants to be a romance writer. But she hasn’t shared it because she’s afraid of being judged by the people closest to her based on their reaction to the books that she reads. However, she has valid reasons for loving these books — they put the needs and desires of women first, provide information and confidence, and normalize talking about women’s pleasure, consent, and sex. These aren’t things that Rowan feels are shameful or wrong. And she’s right.
“Here is my dilemma: my passion is, at best, someone else’s guilty pleasure. Most of the world takes any opportunity to belittle this thing that centers women in a way that most other media doesn’t.”
“Not all romance novels had sex scenes, but they made me comfortable talking about sex and consent and birth control with my parents and with my friends.
The romance. A good enemies to lovers trope can be absolutely wonderful, and this was done incredibly well. I loved the way that the rivalry between Rowan and Neil slowly changed throughout the course of the game, and it felt so believable. At heart, the rivalry was never mean-spirited, but always more competitive. I loved the characters, and how it was between two smart, ambitious, book-smart teenagers who were highly involved in school activities. It made nerdy look cool, and they weren’t socially ostracized.
The game. Howl sounded like the coolest and most fun game I could ever imagine! It made me wish that my school had something like that, and it honestly makes me want to visit Seattle even more than I already did. This book was so obviously a love letter to Seattle, while also a love letter to love and romance, that I fell in love with the city as much as the characters and the story.
Categories: Book Review