It’s the last day of high school, the day when the ultimate prizes in a four year-long rivalry between Rowan Roth and Neil McNair will be announced. Which one of them will be named valedictorian? And who will win Howl, an annual senior class scavenger hunt and elimination game, the winner of which walks away not just with bragging rights but also with a generous cash prize?
Rowan’s interest in Neil is only as an aggravating competitor. Neil wears suits to school, thinks The Great Gatsby is the epitome of literary taste and plans to study linguistics at NYU. Rowan’s true goal today is fulfilling a list she made at the beginning of high school, which includes having a fantastical date with her Perfect High School Boyfriend.
Who is definitely not Neil.
Part delicious puzzle story, part nostalgic reflection on a teen rite of passage and part romance, Today Tonight Tomorrow takes place entirely within a single 24-hour day, interspersing Rowan’s first-person narration with documents, lists of clues and pages of other books . . . including the romance novel she’s secretly writing. As Rowan and her classmates careen from one Seattle local to another in order to complete the scavenger hunt, the suspense of the game of Howl still allows time for personal reflection. What does Rowan’s Jewish Mexican identity mean to her? Will she continue to hide the romance stories she loves, knowing that many people will look down on her because of them? Does Neil’s seemingly perfect exterior mask something he doesn’t want anyone else to know?
Numerous nods to Seattle culture (Nirvana, compostable cups and kitschy attractions) abound, as do delightful bits of literary humor; a condom given to Rowan by her best friends at the beginning of the book is later referred to as “Checkov’s condom” in a nod to the playwright’s famous gun. Author Rachel Lynn Solomon’s first self-described “fun” book is a breezy, one-sitting read that wraps the immediacy of a single day with outstanding layers of nostalgia, empowerment and self-acceptance.