BOOK REVIEW: Tonight We Rule The World by Zack Smedley


Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Format: Kindle
Genre:  YA 

Publisher: Page Street Kids
355 pages
Buy:  Kindle | Hardcover


In the beginning, Owen’s story was blank . . . then he was befriended by Lily, the aspiring author who helped him find his voice. Together, the two have spent years navigating first love and amassing an inseparable friend group. But all of it is upended one day when his school’s administration learns Owen’s secret: that he was sexually assaulted by a classmate.

In the ensuing investigation, everyone scrambles to hold their worlds together.

Owen, still wrestling with his self-destructive thoughts and choices.

His father, a mission-driven military vet ready to start a war to find his son’s attacker.

The school bureaucrats, who seem most concerned with kowtowing to the local media attention.

And Lily, who can’t learn that Owen is the mystery victim everyone is talking about . . . because once she does, it will set off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.

Heartbreaking and hopeful, this is a coming-of-age story that explores how we rebuild after the world comes crumbling down.


I have no idea why I bought this, how I heard about it or anything but wow am I glad that I did.  I love the way this book was laid out. In the beginning we learn that Owen has been sexually assaulted while on a school trip.  The school wants to investigate despite Owen saying he doesn't want anyone to know.  

Owen is an amazing character and I love that he is not neurotypical, which may account for why he won't talk about or get help for what happened.  There are multiple toxic relationships in this book and some really honest and accurate reasons for why they stay in them. This book is just so good on so many levels but I don't want to give too much away.  Through journal entries from the past and descriptions of what is happening now we get to know Owen. The sensitive boy who is easily overstimulated.  He has friends and a girlfriend who have been with him throughout high school and now in their senior year things are starting to fall apart.  

This is an amazing coming of age story with a main character that I think so many teenagers can relate to. I also really appreciate that this is about a boy who is sexually assaulted as opposed to a girl which is the norm.  Its good we are getting stories out there about this and letting people know that no means no regardless of your gender.  We don't find out who assaulted Owen until about halfway through the book and the revelation floored me.  The fall out from the big reveal is difficult and heartbreaking in so many ways.  Bring your tissues and run don't walk to the nearest book store to grab a copy of this book. 

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