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Tonight We Rule the World

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From the critically acclaimed author of Deposing Nathan comes an explosive examination of identity, voice, and the indelible ways our stories are rewritten by others. 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 insepa From the critically acclaimed author of Deposing Nathan comes an explosive examination of identity, voice, and the indelible ways our stories are rewritten by others. 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.


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From the critically acclaimed author of Deposing Nathan comes an explosive examination of identity, voice, and the indelible ways our stories are rewritten by others. 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 insepa From the critically acclaimed author of Deposing Nathan comes an explosive examination of identity, voice, and the indelible ways our stories are rewritten by others. 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.

30 review for Tonight We Rule the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    My first day of high school began with a mandatory icebreaker and ended with me getting hit by a Ford F-250 pickup truck. In the grand scheme of things, it’s difficult to say which experience was worse. Hands up if you're rapidly becoming a Zack Smedley fan 🙋‍♀️ Tonight We Rule the World, like the author's debut-- Deposing Nathan --is a great YA contemporary. Both take on important subjects, but with flawed multifaceted characters and a sense of humour. I might like Deposing Nathan slightly be My first day of high school began with a mandatory icebreaker and ended with me getting hit by a Ford F-250 pickup truck. In the grand scheme of things, it’s difficult to say which experience was worse. Hands up if you're rapidly becoming a Zack Smedley fan 🙋‍♀️ Tonight We Rule the World, like the author's debut-- Deposing Nathan --is a great YA contemporary. Both take on important subjects, but with flawed multifaceted characters and a sense of humour. I might like Deposing Nathan slightly better, but this is a close second and arguably the more important book. I should say right now that this book is about sexual assault and Owen relives that trauma in quite graphic detail, and it also deals with PTSD and coming out as bisexual. However, few books deal with this specific issue. In fact, right now I can't think of any. It is very effective. Like Nate and Cam in Deposing Nathan, Owen is a well-drawn and deeply sympathetic character. His story parallels that of his father, both of them having buried trauma in the hope that ignoring it will make things eventually go away. For his dad, who is ex-military, it's war that haunts him. The book is about them both, their relationship, and their demons. Owen's father adds a wonderful side character and an important subplot to the novel. He's this big, aggressive military man whose response to his son coming out as bi is: "Fuck do I care? Use condoms." The narrative is nonlinear, moving smoothly between the past and present until we are presented with the full picture. Owen experiences an additional challenge because he is on the autism spectrum, which makes some of the gaslighting and manipulation he faces especially awful when his own lack of social understanding is intentionally used against him. It's not all grim. Supportive friends and funny family dynamics keep the story from being too depressing. “Sometimes I think he’s a sociopath,” I say. “No, sweetheart, he’s your dad.” “That’s not the opposite of a sociopath.” I'll be watching out for whatever Smedley writes next.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    why start building up your walls now, a whole year before the release, when you know that an author will tear them down with each and every hard-hitting, ruthless and emotionally loaded word anyway? Few writers are as talented as Zack Smedley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    Messy. Devastating. Ugly. Incredibly important!! Remember Deposing Nathan? Zack Smedley did it again. He destroyed me in every possible way! When I started reading, I felt fidgety, and I was scrolling back and forth, trying to guess the plot twists in advance … because, well, yeah, I had Deposing Nathan on my mind. And it was like I was too hyper to read my most anticipated book of 2021 … Slowly, I started reading instead of almost hyperventilating and guessing and second-guessing. And suddenly, Messy. Devastating. Ugly. Incredibly important!! Remember Deposing Nathan? Zack Smedley did it again. He destroyed me in every possible way! When I started reading, I felt fidgety, and I was scrolling back and forth, trying to guess the plot twists in advance … because, well, yeah, I had Deposing Nathan on my mind. And it was like I was too hyper to read my most anticipated book of 2021 … Slowly, I started reading instead of almost hyperventilating and guessing and second-guessing. And suddenly, I found myself on the edge of my seat, but I still wasn’t sure if Tonight We Rule the World was as brilliant as Deposing Nathan or if I wanted it to be as brilliant. And then there was Owen’s driving lesson, and I exhaled and calmed down. From that point on, I drowned myself in the story and didn’t care if I never surfaced again. When it was revealed what exactly happened to Owen, my ugly first hunch turned out to be correct. I was so mad and wanted to scream and shout, and write down every single word that bubbled up in me, one word in particular, in capitals, but I can’t use that word here because of spoilers. After that, I found some parts really, really hard to read, and they made my heart thunder in my throat, my stomach churn, and tears spring to my eyes. I clenched my fists more than once, and I sobbed, and I wanted to yell at those pages: NO, NO, NO! NOOOO! I love how Zack pulled me in with his simple and blunt writing, his compelling and vivid dialogues, perfectly matching every character. The way he sets the pace, slower in the first half and getting more and more frantic in the second half. Be prepared for that second half. It probably rips your heart out of your body and shreds it into a million pieces. I couldn’t stop crying while reading the last chapters. I wanted to hug one character besides Owen so badly; those who already read the book know who I’m referring to. And please think twice about picking this up if you’ve ever been sexually assaulted or manipulated. Thank you, Zack, for addressing these incredibly heavy and important topics. This book needs to be available in every school library worldwide and discussed in every classroom!! I still have goosebumps on my body while writing this …

  4. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Zack Smedley's new YA novel (following Deposing Nathan ) was so good but so heartbreaking. For the longest time, Owen had trouble fitting in. Being on the autism spectrum, sometimes he struggled with expressing himself and making friends. But when he met Lily, he found in her a kindred spirit and his first girlfriend. And as he connects with her group of friends, he feels like he belongs for the first time. Senior year in high school is a big one for everyone. Owen finds the courage to admit he Zack Smedley's new YA novel (following Deposing Nathan ) was so good but so heartbreaking. For the longest time, Owen had trouble fitting in. Being on the autism spectrum, sometimes he struggled with expressing himself and making friends. But when he met Lily, he found in her a kindred spirit and his first girlfriend. And as he connects with her group of friends, he feels like he belongs for the first time. Senior year in high school is a big one for everyone. Owen finds the courage to admit he’s bisexual. But then the school is rocked when it’s anonymously reported to the administration that Owen was sexually assaulted during a school trip. It’s something he had wanted to keep hidden from everyone—the school, his military-veteran father, who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, and especially Lily, because everything will change after that. What happened that night? Who assaulted Owen? And why doesn't he want to share the truth? Tonight We Rule the World is so powerful, emotional, and thought-provoking. It’s a look at gaslighting and how often we’re failed by those who say they have our best interests at heart. But more than that, it’s about finding the inner courage and self-belief to do the right thing and stand on your own. I struggled a bit with the behaviors of some of the characters, but I was just so moved. Thanks to Page Street YA, Storygram Tours, and Zack Smedley for inviting me on the tour and providing me a complimentary copy of the book in excahnge for an unbiased review! See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zack Smedley

    Hopefully the worst thing about this is that it was written in 2020. Let's never do that again, man. Hopefully the worst thing about this is that it was written in 2020. Let's never do that again, man.

  6. 4 out of 5

    BookChampions

    Zack Smedley ripped my heart out with his amazing YA debut, *Deposing Nathan*. Not before that book had I seen a writer traverse bisexual coming-out and coming-of-age, and then to do it with one hand on an unfolding mystery and the other on raw heartbreak. It is a dear novel to me. So first I must thank Page Street YA for the advanced copy of his follow-up, *Tonight We Rule the World* in exchange for a review. This was one of my most anticipated reads this year, and everyone can start reading it Zack Smedley ripped my heart out with his amazing YA debut, *Deposing Nathan*. Not before that book had I seen a writer traverse bisexual coming-out and coming-of-age, and then to do it with one hand on an unfolding mystery and the other on raw heartbreak. It is a dear novel to me. So first I must thank Page Street YA for the advanced copy of his follow-up, *Tonight We Rule the World* in exchange for a review. This was one of my most anticipated reads this year, and everyone can start reading it October 5th! This time Smedley takes a brutal but important look at a sexual assault and its aftermath, experienced by a senior boy named Owen, a couple months before graduating high school and days after coming out bi online. I appreciate that we now have the word "gaslighting" in our vernacular to call out the way some individuals will try to twist our truths and negate our feelings and how that can poison and shrink us. Smedley's depiction of gaslighting here is powerful. Like his screenwriting protagonist, Smedley has a way with dialogue; he can draw awkward conversations in a masterful way that can leave my gut in knots---but in knots for only so long. Because his characters also demonstrate incredible agency and learn to have dignity for oneself. *Tonight We Rule the World* shreds the indifference too many people have toward assault. Its examination of how men in particular handle this and other traumas is also pretty rare and much needed. I'm so grateful that Zack is in the world and keeps writing books for teenagers (and the rest of us). Ultimately I'd put this at 4.5 stars, but of course I'm rounding up. I'm curious about the title and cover, which I feel don't prepare the reader for the difficult subject matter. But gee, this is an impressive follow-up, and I'll read Smedley for life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eve

    broke my heart OPEN bro

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    A common worry for readers is whether the follow-up to an outstanding debut novel will suffer from the dreaded "Second Book Syndrome," where expectations are sky-high but disappointment sets in. We can officially lay such anxieties to rest here because Tonight We Rule the World is a phenomenal follow-up to Zack Smedley's first book, Deposing Nathan. Like Deposing Nathan, Tonight We Rule the World deals with difficult subjects. Smedley handles them skillfully and sensitively while never detracting A common worry for readers is whether the follow-up to an outstanding debut novel will suffer from the dreaded "Second Book Syndrome," where expectations are sky-high but disappointment sets in. We can officially lay such anxieties to rest here because Tonight We Rule the World is a phenomenal follow-up to Zack Smedley's first book, Deposing Nathan. Like Deposing Nathan, Tonight We Rule the World deals with difficult subjects. Smedley handles them skillfully and sensitively while never detracting from the plot or their importance to readers. Mix in some now-trademark Smedley twists and rich character development, and he's knocked another book out of the park. Highly recommended, but trigger warnings for sexual assault, abuse, and gaslighting. Smedley will be an automatic read for me from here on out. As an added bonus, I got to meet him and get my copy signed!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    Fantastic in so many ways. Rtc.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    I really will just read anything Smedley writes now. The power in his work is...a Lot. And the last line of this one still haunts me in the very best way.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Okay way, this one hit really hard. I knew what I was getting into when I started it because it's clearly stated on the back. This is a story about sexual assault and rebuilding life after that. This book had be on the edge of my seat. I didn't want to put it down because I needed to know what happened next. Owen's story compelled me more than I thought it would. I knew this would be a heavy hitter, I just didn't know it would break me down and build me up again with its honesty. Zack writes this Okay way, this one hit really hard. I knew what I was getting into when I started it because it's clearly stated on the back. This is a story about sexual assault and rebuilding life after that. This book had be on the edge of my seat. I didn't want to put it down because I needed to know what happened next. Owen's story compelled me more than I thought it would. I knew this would be a heavy hitter, I just didn't know it would break me down and build me up again with its honesty. Zack writes this book with a carful eye to the story he is telling. It is a complicated and sensitive subject, and one that I believe he tackles with excellence and brutality. This is a story of overcoming ones fears of letting go, and rebuilding life when the word thing happens. What do you do when you feel everything you've worked so hard to achieve come troubling down around you? What would you be willing to tolerate to survive it? What lies will you be willing to tell yourself and believe from others? It's emotional, but I was also never taken over that edge. Like a rollercoaster, the build up was there, but the drop was small. This can be a bad and a good thing. It was too much emotion that I was left sobbing, but I felt that telltale ping in my chest of empathy for Owen. This is a book I highly recommend. Zack Smedley is a phenomenal write, and the work is proof of that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    From PW: "A coming-of-age novel about a boy whose senior year is upended when school officials learn he was sexually assaulted by another student. The book—which explores identity, sexuality, and self-worth—follows the implosion among the boy’s peers, parents, school, and girlfriend." From PW: "A coming-of-age novel about a boy whose senior year is upended when school officials learn he was sexually assaulted by another student. The book—which explores identity, sexuality, and self-worth—follows the implosion among the boy’s peers, parents, school, and girlfriend."

  13. 4 out of 5

    eri

    writing this review immediately after finishing it and i'm still feeling so much and trying to process it all and oh my god this was so bittersweet yet lovely yet heartbreaking and *incoherent screeching* writing this review immediately after finishing it and i'm still feeling so much and trying to process it all and oh my god this was so bittersweet yet lovely yet heartbreaking and *incoherent screeching*

  14. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Just phenomenal. Very close to my platonic ideal in terms of YA stories, and probably my favorite YA read of the past year. Manages to be better than "Deposing Nathan," which, when I read it, I'd described as "the finest YA novel I've read." This one has a more even balance of tone: it goes to some very dark places, but it's as interested in the joys of youth as it is in the challenges. I don't know how to talk about the plot without getting into plot-ruining spoilers. A trigger warning for sexua Just phenomenal. Very close to my platonic ideal in terms of YA stories, and probably my favorite YA read of the past year. Manages to be better than "Deposing Nathan," which, when I read it, I'd described as "the finest YA novel I've read." This one has a more even balance of tone: it goes to some very dark places, but it's as interested in the joys of youth as it is in the challenges. I don't know how to talk about the plot without getting into plot-ruining spoilers. A trigger warning for sexual assault doesn't feel like a spoiler because the subject is broached within the first few pages. How it approaches that topic is one of the things that elevates this book. For some readers, this one is going to be important. It hits that all-important balance between being something us grown-ass adults can enjoy while clearly being aimed at the young adults for whom this will be especially helpful. I can only hope that this story finds its way into the hands of the young readers who need it most. At a minimum, this is going to make some people feel seen. Serious spoiler, proceed at your plot-ruining peril: (view spoiler)[We see YA novels in which sexual assault perpetrated on men relatively rarely, and I don't think I've ever read one in which the assailant is female. I know I grew up with the myth that this simply doesn't happen, and Smedley lays out that (1) yes, it does, and (2) exactly how it happens. (hide spoiler)] The book isn't content with simply broaching a difficult topic. It's similar to Deposing Nathan in that this is a book in which emotional abuse is a central plot element that's introduced with remarkable subtlety and from a couple of different directions. Also as in that book, although the book mostly involves teenagers acting like teenagers, toward the end, some of them bust out with the kind of insights that take some grown-ass adults years of therapy to achieve. I won't fault that "suddenly, I have mastered healthy boundaries" element because this is a book that seems to be aiming to be genuinely useful to young readers, so I don't mind a little bit of on-the-nose telling, given that it comes after such a tremendous amount of showing. Owen's dad is... like, there was already a lot going on with this book, and then we add this other emotionally perilous element, and it worked. It really, really worked. This is the second time Smedley has gotten into the topic of problematic parenting, and I think it's even more effective here than it was in his previous novel. The book takes some risks by expressing some difficult things through our protagonist's creative writing, which is very much the writing of a high schooler. I kind of can't believe the book manages to pull it off in a way that feels authentic, but it does. I suspect those sections, rough as they are, probably took ages to get right. Smedley puts a preface at the beginning of the book that talks about how it was written during the pandemic, and it feels nearly like an apology. This is amusing because the book that follows is excellent, and if anything, it works harder than it really has to in order to leaven its darkness with notes of hope and promise for the future. When Smedley was writing it, a lot of us really needed those things. I know I kinda still do. This is one of those "run, don't walk" books for those of us who enjoy YA. I'll probably be trying to shove it into the hands of friends for the foreseeable future. This set another bar that it's going to be hard for YA books to meet. I cannot wait to see what Smedley writes next.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    Received an ARC from the Publisher! Thanks y’all! Hoo boy, this book. I cannot remember the last time a book made me absolutely bawl like this and I need everyone who can to read it come October. It is a tough book that deals with some dark subjects (sexual assault, emotional abuse, gaslighting, anxiety) but if you’re not gonna be triggered by such content I urge you to read it, because I’m gonna spend a hot minute talking about what this meant to me. At the risk of getting all philosophical and o Received an ARC from the Publisher! Thanks y’all! Hoo boy, this book. I cannot remember the last time a book made me absolutely bawl like this and I need everyone who can to read it come October. It is a tough book that deals with some dark subjects (sexual assault, emotional abuse, gaslighting, anxiety) but if you’re not gonna be triggered by such content I urge you to read it, because I’m gonna spend a hot minute talking about what this meant to me. At the risk of getting all philosophical and overly personal in the goodreads comments, here we go. I was emotionally abused in high school. I’m in a much better place now and honestly I wish I’d had a book like this back then, because the way Owen copes with the emotional abuse he endures and his complicated feelings towards his abuser was at times word for word how I’d felt in high school: how he feels like he has to do everything for his friends because he doesn’t feel like he’s worth them putting the work in? Yeah. How he wonders when someone he adores became someone who hurt him, and how he desperately wishes he could talk to that first person and thank them for all they meant to him in his younger years, but knowing it’s not two separate people and the person who meant so much to him is gone, become someone else he doesn’t recognize? Feelings I still grapple with all these years later. The book also reminded me to be nicer to my past self, I didn’t berate the protagonist for being lied to and gaslit and not knowing how to get out of the situation, I felt for him, I wanted to yell at him to run and give him a hug; shouldn’t I think about my high school self the same way, not look back and kick myself like “stupid girl you had so many outs and you let them hurt you over and over” and that’s a reminder I needed more than I realized because even though things are so much better now, it messed me up, and this book reminded me that I didn’t deserve that, I wasn’t an idiot, no matter how I much I still feel that at times. So yeah, this is the book I wish I’d had in high school when I was in the middle of all of that, but I’m glad that kids now are gonna have it, because I know if I felt so seen, felt this book was so necessary while I sobbed at one am almost eight years later, there’s gonna be a kid out there who needs it now, and then that’s a lucky kid who’s gonna have the tools to help themselves, I hope. So yeah, if you can get through the triggering content, please read this book come fall.

  16. 4 out of 5

    advanced placement

    sad girl gives 5 stars to the sad book

  17. 4 out of 5

    Channing Hyde

    I literally finished this book in a matter of hours. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! The story was compelling and tells a story far too many of us are familiar with. As I read the novel, I was able to feel what the character felt, and I applaud Smedley for writing such a well written novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lily Rooke

    'No one teaches you how to come home. Not in the way you need to be taught.' / 'The trueness of the love we give is measured by how it feels for the person we give it to.' I found this story very impressive, and quite difficult to read at times. It has some beautiful lines and I think it will be really important for a lot of people. I'm glad at how the author didn't shy away from the gaslighting, or sweep the experience of abuse under the rug. It was really refreshing to see such supportive frien 'No one teaches you how to come home. Not in the way you need to be taught.' / 'The trueness of the love we give is measured by how it feels for the person we give it to.' I found this story very impressive, and quite difficult to read at times. It has some beautiful lines and I think it will be really important for a lot of people. I'm glad at how the author didn't shy away from the gaslighting, or sweep the experience of abuse under the rug. It was really refreshing to see such supportive friends and parents, despite the complexities of the relationship between Owen and his father. I like that healing/recovery isn't presented as linear, or smooth, or fast, or easy. I liked Owen a lot as a narrator, and I hope there might be space for a sequel picking up with him and Luke, exploring what comes next for them.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    i’m sobbing this book was perfect

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Zack Smedley's debut novel "Deposing Nathan" is quite possibly one of the best YA books I have ever read. I had high expectations when I received my copy of "Tonight We Rule the World". Zack's second novel was just as moving as his first and I think, perhaps, even more important. This book is a story about a young man named Owen. At the beginning of the story, he has no friends and there is very little going on in his life that isn't routine. Then he meets Lily. Lily wants to be a writer and shar Zack Smedley's debut novel "Deposing Nathan" is quite possibly one of the best YA books I have ever read. I had high expectations when I received my copy of "Tonight We Rule the World". Zack's second novel was just as moving as his first and I think, perhaps, even more important. This book is a story about a young man named Owen. At the beginning of the story, he has no friends and there is very little going on in his life that isn't routine. Then he meets Lily. Lily wants to be a writer and shares with Owen a writing game that helps to forge their friendship. Lily introduces Owen to a world full of friends, creativity, acceptance and the two begin a relationship When a student at the school reports that Owen was sexually assaulted on a recent school trip and an investigation begins, everything changes. Owen must navigate his own thoughts and feelings, the environment at school as curiosity overtakes the student body, his father's anger, and fierce determination to find out who hurt his son. In the middle of the maelstrom of concern and curiosity is Owen and all he wants is for no one to find out who assaulted him. I have been thinking a lot about this story since I finished it. It's one of those books that has lingered in my mind. There are some intense issues in this book, and some shocking and frightening scenes. I found them all to be moving, timely and handled with finesse. I can honestly say that I have never read a book like this before. What stands out for me is Zack's writing. Zack has a remarkable way of using words to paint a picture with such detail that it always draws me into the story completely. The characters he creates have clear and unique voices. I found Owen to be a remarkable character. Early on Owen reveals that he is on the Autism spectrum. This resonated for me as it was simply revealed as something about Owen, not as a disability, not as an excuse or as something that made him "less than". I really appreciated the way that Zack wrote Owen's thought patterns. It was remarkable to see this character evolve. There was so much emotion and hurt and I felt as though I was with Owen from the beginning until his first steps moving forwards. This book is a full journey. A beautiful story. Absolutely beautiful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    talia ♡

    sure, destroy me, make me sob uncontrollably, and smash my heart into a million little pieces with a new book again mr. smedley. i never needed a heart anyways...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Moirra Garcia

    Thank you so much to the wonderful publicist at Page Street YA for sending this book for me to read, share, and review! . CW as provided by the author: Drug Use, Consistent Profanity, Depictions Of Domestic Abuse, Detailed Depictions Of PTSD, Mention Of Suicide, Underage Drinking and Drug Abuse . “Tonight We Rule The World” follows Owen, a bisexual and in the Autism Spectrum, who was sexually assaulted by a classmate. Shortly, the school’s administration finds out about his assault and ensues an inv Thank you so much to the wonderful publicist at Page Street YA for sending this book for me to read, share, and review! . CW as provided by the author: Drug Use, Consistent Profanity, Depictions Of Domestic Abuse, Detailed Depictions Of PTSD, Mention Of Suicide, Underage Drinking and Drug Abuse . “Tonight We Rule The World” follows Owen, a bisexual and in the Autism Spectrum, who was sexually assaulted by a classmate. Shortly, the school’s administration finds out about his assault and ensues an investigation. Following this are the aftermaths and chains of events that changed his relationships and his own life. . This book, first off, is really beautifully written and I can tell that there was so much love and care for every word used as well as for the main character. It was very emotional and heart-wrenching, but overwhelmingly I was very very angry and frustrated with certain characters and how they treated Owen. The gaslighting and manipulation was so sad and aggravating to read. And because of that I know I will not be able to get this out of my head for a long while. . The story itself is filled with hope that serves as a reminder that you can rebuild your life and do it at your own terms and pace, that it is okay to make changes and let go of something or someone that no longer makes you happy and it is okay meet others who will accept you at your best and at your not so best. . I really wished it was a lot longer. I craved for more from the wonderful relationships formed and I wanted to see the brighter days Owen has waiting for him. . I highly recommend to read this book at least once in your life if you, of course, can handle sexual assault as a topic. It is an unforgettable roller coaster.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Siofra

    Tonight We Rule the World left me breathless from the hook at the beginning to the stomach-dropping reveal! Thank you, Page Street Kids and NetGalley, for allowing me access to this incredible book, in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions! TW: Gaslighting, denial, PTSD, SA and domestic abuse I felt so sick reading this book because I felt so utterly sad and betrayed and devasted for Owen. This book spins this tells so tragical; we begin with finding out Owen has been assaulted a month after Tonight We Rule the World left me breathless from the hook at the beginning to the stomach-dropping reveal! Thank you, Page Street Kids and NetGalley, for allowing me access to this incredible book, in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions! TW: Gaslighting, denial, PTSD, SA and domestic abuse I felt so sick reading this book because I felt so utterly sad and betrayed and devasted for Owen. This book spins this tells so tragical; we begin with finding out Owen has been assaulted a month after it happens, then we flip between present time to his diary entries from freshman year (3-4 years ago). You see his character growth and building relationships and friendships, and everything looks excellent, all while you know the pain that is going to occur and then when it happens, it's like a kick to the stomach. I felt betrayed and a mix of emotions in response to how Owen coped with it, and it's essential to say this - his reaction was nowhere wrong, I just wanted to protect him, but he needed to manage how he did to get there. Also, I was mad at his father initially, but in the end, I felt bad for him while knowing his reactions were wrong and hindered his son! PLUS, I WANNA PUNCH THAT PERSON (READERS WILL KNOW WHO) IN THE THROAT!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

    Reading a book by Zack Smedley is a full body experience—a heart-aching, stomach-clenching, mind-absorbing, eyes-moving-at-lightening-speed-across-the-page experience. At least it is for me, because I am so incredibly engrossed by the stories he creates. I probably said all of this in my review for his debut novel, Deposing Nathan, but it couldn’t be more true. I’m speechless, yet I have so much to say. For the first half of the book, I thought it would be a 4-star review from me. It was really s Reading a book by Zack Smedley is a full body experience—a heart-aching, stomach-clenching, mind-absorbing, eyes-moving-at-lightening-speed-across-the-page experience. At least it is for me, because I am so incredibly engrossed by the stories he creates. I probably said all of this in my review for his debut novel, Deposing Nathan, but it couldn’t be more true. I’m speechless, yet I have so much to say. For the first half of the book, I thought it would be a 4-star review from me. It was really sweet and I was enjoying it, but I wasn’t completely captured by it. By the time I finished, however, I thought, “Wow, Zack did it again.” I felt like I was crying except there weren’t any actual tears. By the second half of the book, I sat in the same spot for hours just consuming this story and I couldn’t stop until there was no more story to read. I think any book with that kind of power deserves 5 stars and a standing ovation. Owen as a narrator shatters so many stereotypes about people with Autism: that having a diagnosis means they can’t articulate their thoughts, aren’t with it mentally, have a certain “look,” etc. On the outside, no one would know that Owen has ASD and, from his narrations, you wouldn’t really either if it wasn’t talked about. He is just a teenager navigating relationships with his girlfriend, the first friends he has ever had, his father, and himself. I also love the way Smedley writes about things that are so relatable but also things you would never think to give words to, so when you read it it’s like, “Yes!!! This!!!” I’ll sum up this review by reiterating how riveting and multifaceted this story is and that if you aren’t hooked by the beginning, you will be by the end. *trigger warning for description of sexual assault

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    5 ⭐ Zack Smedley has solidified his place as an auto-buy author for me. This book hit me in all the feels, just like Deposing Nathan. No second book syndrome here! Really appreciated all the rep, and showcasing the insidious nature of emotional abuse (esp. female on male, which you don't see much in books). Very well done, loved the book. 5 ⭐ Zack Smedley has solidified his place as an auto-buy author for me. This book hit me in all the feels, just like Deposing Nathan. No second book syndrome here! Really appreciated all the rep, and showcasing the insidious nature of emotional abuse (esp. female on male, which you don't see much in books). Very well done, loved the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street Publishing for sending me an eARC of this book to review. Owen is raped on the Senior Class Trip, the same night he announces on social media that he is bisexual. He only tells one person, and now that person has anonymously reported it to the school. Owen is called to the office where the principal informs him and his father that an incident was reported and that they will be investigating. The principal wants Owen to tell her who did this to him. Owen's F Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street Publishing for sending me an eARC of this book to review. Owen is raped on the Senior Class Trip, the same night he announces on social media that he is bisexual. He only tells one person, and now that person has anonymously reported it to the school. Owen is called to the office where the principal informs him and his father that an incident was reported and that they will be investigating. The principal wants Owen to tell her who did this to him. Owen's Father, a retired marine with untreated PTSD, also wants to know who did it, and wants that person arrested. Owen just wants to forget. He is sure that if his attacker is named, EVERYTHING will change. He wants to forget, but can he? The chapters in this book alternate between current time and Owen’s Journal entries dating back to his freshman year. His journal entries introduce us Owen's friend group, girlfriend and past family issues. Owen is on the autism spectrum, and this is the first group of friends, & the first girlfriend he has ever had. Once we learn the identity of his attacker, we understand more why Owen does not want anyone to know who it is. Through the support of his close knit group of friends, Owen finally has the courage to name his attacker to his parents and the strength to move on from the attack. Possible Triggers: rape, PTSD, toxic relationships

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eve

    this was so emotional and so important. owen was such an exquisitely rendered character with in depth commentary about the trauma he faces, while still (in my opinion) handling the topic with the respect and sensitivity that people who have faced the same trauma and read this book deserve

  28. 4 out of 5

    Valentina

    I'm heartbroken as expected. Zack Smedley might be one of my favourite authors :) the way he builds characters makes me care for them so much. this was such a smooth read as well 5/5 I'm heartbroken as expected. Zack Smedley might be one of my favourite authors :) the way he builds characters makes me care for them so much. this was such a smooth read as well 5/5

  29. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Having graduated 20 years ago, I had forgotten what it was like to be in high school. And then I picked up this book. Zack Smedley writes in such a way, that you remember what it's like to be on the verge of gaining your freedom, going out into the world. And the heartbreak of what you must leave behind to gain that independence. You always hear about the sophomore slump. There's no sign of that being true here. This novel was every bit as engrossing and heart wrenching as Deposing Nathan was. Having graduated 20 years ago, I had forgotten what it was like to be in high school. And then I picked up this book. Zack Smedley writes in such a way, that you remember what it's like to be on the verge of gaining your freedom, going out into the world. And the heartbreak of what you must leave behind to gain that independence. You always hear about the sophomore slump. There's no sign of that being true here. This novel was every bit as engrossing and heart wrenching as Deposing Nathan was. I will say this book is a fresh voice. I loved it. I have personally never read a story like this, from this perspective. I say it like that because I'm trying to avoid spoilers. Take my word. It's a powerful novel that will really make you stop and think.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paola

    *Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review* TW: Sexual assault Physical abuse Control issues Animal death (minor) Reps: Autism Spectrum PTSD Anxiety Heartbreaking and beautiful is the best way I can describe this book. Hauntingly accurate could be another way. This is the story of Owen, who was sexually assaulted on a school trip and didn't tell anybody because he is trying to sweep it under the rug and carry on with his life. One day it all comes cr *Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review* TW: Sexual assault Physical abuse Control issues Animal death (minor) Reps: Autism Spectrum PTSD Anxiety Heartbreaking and beautiful is the best way I can describe this book. Hauntingly accurate could be another way. This is the story of Owen, who was sexually assaulted on a school trip and didn't tell anybody because he is trying to sweep it under the rug and carry on with his life. One day it all comes crashing down and his whole world does a 360. I thought I had the plot figured out to a certain extent, but I was wrong because it's much more complex than it seems. The author did a fantastic job at writing all of these three-dimensional characters. Almost to the point that you know Owen's story will resonate in people because what happened to him can happen and probably has happened to somebody you know. I went through a shit-ton of emotions while reading this that I'm probably going to send the author a bill for my tissues (I'm just joking..... I won't send him a bill). I would definitely recommend this book because Owen's story needs to be heard and we also need to realize that not everything is what it seems.

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