Owen should be having the greatest time of his life. He is a senior in high school, surrounded by the best group of friends, a girlfriend, and headed to the college of his dreams. But Owen is not. Someone has told the school his secret and now he is doing everything he can not to let that secret get out any further. Owen was sexually assaulted on a school trip. While his dad, a military veteran struggles with his own demons and tries to find justice for his son, Owen just wants life back to what it was - Before.
I just want to put a disclaimer that this book touches on some pretty heavy stuff; sexual assault, physical abuse, child abuse, PTSD, and more I will not go into any of the heavy here in my review but wanted everyone to be aware should you decide to pick up your own copy.
I want to start out by saying that this, this is the kind of book we need in the world. Sexual Assaults, where the male is the victim - are one of the most underreported crimes in the U.S. This book may some day help an "Owen" in the world feel like he can tell his story. Make him feel less alone. That's what we need a lot of books to do. To let us know we are not alone in our experiences in this world. I am going to keep my review a bit short because I don't want to give too much away.
This book had me in tears by the end of the first chapter. I actually had to put the book down and walk away from it for the day because it was just too much for me. I am the mother of a teenage son with high functioning autism, which brought Owen's character a bit too close to home. The entire book is written from Owen's point of view where there is definitely a bit of telling and not showing that he has autism and I think there are other ways this could have been done but it did not diminish the quality of the book for me at all. Mr. Smedley really brings the characters and their pain to life with his depictions and pulls you in by giving you an emotional connection with each character as the story unfolds. The story of what happened to Owen slowly unfolds over the course of a couple of weeks within his interactions with many other characters in the book. He was written as the type of character you wanted to reach out to and just give a great big hug to. I especially enjoyed his growth throughout the book as he opened up to more and more people about what happened to him, even if he did it unintentionally.
I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 16. I would also HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is a friend, family member, teacher, of a victim of SA. There are some really great DON'T DO THIS moments that I think are good to know.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Bittersweet stars for Tonight We Rule the World
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