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.

Discussion Questions

Rowan Roth nev­er thought she’d team up with Neil McNair. Rivals ever since a com­pet­i­tive fresh­man year essay con­test, Rowan and McNight­mare” have been at each other’s throats for four long years. She has a final chance to destroy him with Howl, an end-of-year scav­enger hunt that takes the senior class all over Seat­tle. When Rowan finds out a group of their class­mates are after both of them, she reluc­tant­ly asks him to col­lab­o­rate — at least until the end, when they’ll turn on each oth­er once again. As the day pro­gress­es, how­ev­er, she real­izes there might be more than resent­ment behind their years-long rivalry.

Rachel Lynn Solomon is at her very best in this emo­tion­al­ly com­plex ene­mies-to-more romance between two Jew­ish char­ac­ters. The protagonist’s com­bi­na­tion of con­fi­dence and self-doubt is instant­ly relat­able. Solomon expert­ly builds roman­tic ten­sion between Rowan and her neme­sis, with plen­ty of clever ban­ter, mis­un­der­stand­ings, and false starts. Some of their best con­ver­sa­tions are about the real­i­ties of being Jew­ish in Seat­tle — the sting of anti­semitism both casu­al and less so, and the joy they find in their faith and cus­toms. Read­ers will also find immense com­fort in their hon­est dis­cus­sions of sex, desire, con­sent, and dou­ble stan­dards for women. Ten­der and laugh-out-loud hilar­i­ous, Today Tonight Tomor­row is hard to put down and impos­si­ble to forget.