Young Adult Novels Exploring Sexual Abuse Against Boys: Background information when reading Tonight We Rule the World

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Tonight We Rule the World

by Zack Smedley

Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley X
Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2021, 352 pages

    May 1, 2023, 352 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
Buy This Book

About this Book

Young Adult Novels Exploring Sexual Abuse Against Boys

This article relates to Tonight We Rule the World

Print Review

Despite its prevalence, sexual assault remains a largely taboo subject, particularly in cases where men and boys are victims. Toxic masculinity and societal pressure push many to suffer in silence, afraid of being perceived as "weak" and the repercussions this could have throughout their lives. The mental impact of this decision is explored to powerful effect in Zack Smedley's novel Tonight We Rule the World.

At least one in six men have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lives, either as children or later in life, and studies suggest this figure is in fact higher, as male victims are less likely to come forward than their female counterparts — for the very reasons mentioned above. This reiterates the importance of championing narratives — fictional and otherwise — that set a blueprint for these victims to reclaim their stories and speak out. Here are some examples of novels that aim to do just that by addressing sexual abuse and assault of boys.

Novels About Sexual Abuse of Boys

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

This emotionally charged story follows the eponymous Leonard, as he prepares to take his own life. As he says goodbye to those closest to him, the truth about what pushed him to this breaking point is gradually revealed.

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely

Struggling with the breakdown of his family, Aidan seeks comfort from the local priest, but soon recognizes the dark motivation behind Father Greg's affection. From here, he turns to a group of new friends, who help each other make sense of their place in the world.

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

Here, we follow Josh as he attempts to juggle teenage life while processing the abuse he suffered at the hands of a female teacher.

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Though just 18 years old, Zach is already in rehab battling alcoholism. Having suppressed most of his childhood memories as a means of self-preservation, his recovery will force him to relive the events that led him to this point.

Swagger by Carl Deuker

When a friend confides that he was abused by their basketball coach, Jonas must decide whether to speak out in defense of his friend or safeguard his future sports career by keeping quiet.

Target by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

After he is brutally raped by two men, 16-year-old Grady retreats into himself. Plagued by anxiety, Grady struggles to eat and barely utters a word, broken by the world. Piece by piece, his friends will help to put him back together.

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee

A gifted child soprano, Fee, and his fellow choir boys suffer at the hands of their director, a serial pedophile. The ripple effects of this haunt Fee throughout his life, forcing him to finally confront the reality of what he endured. While all the other books on this list fall into the category of young adult literature, Chee's is a coming-of-age novel that follows its protagonist into adulthood, and so may be of more interest to older teens and adults.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Written in the form of letters, introvert Charlie's story is as joyous as it is devastating. As he makes meaningful connections and explores his identity, he begins to unpack events from his past that have, until now, remained unspoken.

When Jeff Comes Home by Catherine Atkins

Years after he was abducted, Jeff is set free by his kidnapper. Attempting to reassimilate into his old life is hard enough, and he also struggles to open up about the things he endured throughout his captivity, afraid that no one could possibly understand.

Bait by Alex Sanchez

Heading down a dangerous path and struggling to control his anger issues, Diego finds himself on probation for fighting. To get the help he needs, he will have to open up to his probation officer, but that means revealing the truth about his stepfather's abusive behavior.

Filed under Reading Lists

This article relates to Tonight We Rule the World. It first ran in the November 3, 2021 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Mystery of Mysteries
    A Mystery of Mysteries
    by Mark Dawidziak
    Edgar Allan Poe biographers have an advantage over other writers because they don't have to come up ...
  • Book Jacket: Moonrise Over New Jessup
    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks
    Jamila Minnicks' debut novel Moonrise Over New Jessup received the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially...
  • Book Jacket
    The Magician's Daughter
    by H.G. Parry
    "Magic isn't there to be hoarded like dragon's treasure. Magic is kind. It comes into ...
  • Book Jacket: The Great Displacement
    The Great Displacement
    by Jake Bittle
    On August 4, 2021, California's largest single wildfire to date torched through the small mountain ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Nurse's Secret
by Amanda Skenandore
A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's first nursing school.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Russian Doll
    by Kristen Loesch

    A haunting epic of betrayal, revenge, and redemption following three generations of Russian women.

  • Book Jacket

    Once We Were Home
    by Jennifer Rosner

    From the author of The Yellow Bird Sings, a novel based on the true stories of children stolen in the wake of World War II.

Who Said...

All my major works have been written in prison...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

R Peter T P P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.