Fic­tion

Today Tonight Tomorrow

  • Review
By – July 9, 2020

Rowan Roth aims to be the star of her high school, and with only a day left until offi­cial grad­u­a­tion she’s feel­ing ner­vous; she’s focused on try­ing to out­do her fren­e­my, Neil McNair, who has been her rival since fresh­man year. The two have sparred at every­thing — from essay con­tests to col­lect­ing the most cans for the envi­ron­men­tal club — but when Neil is named the class vale­dic­to­ri­an, rel­e­gat­ing Rowan to salu­ta­to­ri­an, she is shocked. Real­iz­ing that this will be her last oppor­tu­ni­ty to out­do Neil once and for all, she sets her sights on win­ning Howl, a rid­dle and scav­enger hunt game where high school seniors are sent around Seat­tle with clues to deci­pher, and the win­ner receives a mon­e­tary prize. After Rowan over­hears class­mates bash­ing her and Neil and vow­ing to final­ly beat this dynam­ic duo at some­thing, Rowan real­izes she must team up with her ene­my in order to win the game. As the two rivals explore var­i­ous locales of Seat­tle, Rowan learns about who Neil is out­side of all the aca­d­e­m­ic and extracur­ric­u­lar com­pe­ti­tion; she begins to won­der if per­haps she’s falling for her nemesis.

The book unique­ly depicts the city of Seat­tle from an insider’s per­spec­tive, which gives read­ers a tex­tured look into these character’s lives. Both Rowan and Neil are Jew­ish, although nei­ther real­ized it until this last epic day as they’ve been caught in their aca­d­e­m­ic bat­tles. Rowan is a self-aware pro­tag­o­nist; many read­ers will empathize with Rowan’s inner tur­moil sur­round­ing her fear of being judged by fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends for her pas­sion for read­ing and writ­ing romance nov­els. Ulti­mate­ly she must decide whether or not to reveal her truest self and face the pos­si­ble judge­ment of those she cares about. The cast of char­ac­ters is com­posed of com­plex indi­vid­u­als, with relat­able traits and flaws. Addi­tion­al­ly, the book is pep­pered with arti­facts from Rowan and Neil’s adven­tures around town, includ­ing receipts, Howl clues, and text mes­sages between Rowan and Neil, as well as seg­ments from Rowan’s par­ents’ books — an accom­plished author-illus­tra­tor team. Today Tonight Tomor­row is an enter­tain­ing, engag­ing read on com­ing-of-age and becom­ing com­fort­able in who you are.

Jil­lian Bietz stud­ied library tech­nol­o­gy and research skills and cur­rent­ly works in the library sys­tem. She is a book review­er for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Kirkus Review Indie. Jil­lian lives in South­ern California.

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