It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on 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 nemesis one last time.
Tonight, she puts up with him.
When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one 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 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.
This is a friendly reminder that you have three (3) hours and counting before suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of your future valedictorian.
Bring tissues. I know you’re a crier.
The text jolts me from sleep a minute before my 5:55 alarm, three quick pulses to let me know my least favorite person is already awake. Neil McNair—“McNightmare” in my phone—is annoyingly punctual. It’s one of his only good traits.
solid, good read:
I read See You Yesterday almost a year ago and remember thinking I wanted more. Anyone who can make me fall for a Groundhog Day trope is worth checking out further. I’m not sure why it took me so long to return to Solomon's work, but I thoroughly enjoyed Today Tonight Tomorrow.
Only two things keep Today Tonight Tomorrow from being a five-star read.
First, there are too many moments where Rowan stands up on her soapbox to read a prepared lecture about a touchy topic. I wish her self-consciousness about romance novels and, well, just about anything, was handled with more subtlety. There was a way for Neil and Rowan to connect about being Jewish and discussing a lifetime of shared experiences without it sounding so forced and formulaic. Or for Rowan to discuss sexuality or feminism with openness and nuance rather than aggression. It would have been so easy for her to have explained her position on any of these matters to Neil, her friends, or her family at any point over the last four years rather than taking offhand comments as insults and degradation.
Second, the jump from ‘oh, maybe I don’t hate you’ to ‘we should’ve been friends, not enemies’ to ‘I love you’ was way way way too fast. These two have spent four years competing against each other, working against each other, being forced to work together, spending hours of every day together, but everything just works out over the course of a few hours, and now they’re in love? I’m not doubting their connection or the strength of their denial, but I would’ve preferred a little less romance trope and a little more realism, especially considering the intelligence of our two main characters.
Yes, those sound like two big detractors, but they basically bookend most of the narrative, as they’re most noticeable at the beginning and in the end. And once you get into the flow of the story, it’s very easy to get lost in it. Once Rowan gets out of her head, there is some excellent chemistry between her and Neil, and the anticipation is wonderful. Solomon makes hours feel like days, and the tension between them is palpable - it makes me wish Today Tonight Tomorrow was spicier.
Today Tonight Tomorrow also reads as a love letter to Seattle. Even though Rowan spends most of the book thinking about leaving for college, it’s clear that she loves this city and its people. The scavenger hunt setup allows for a scenic tour of Rowan and Neil's favourite places, and it adds colour and depth to the narrative, keeping Today Tonight Tomorrow from feeling a little one-note or trope-heavy.
Maybe not as good as See You Yesterday, I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed Today Tonight Tomorrow and look forward to reading more by Solomon.