Release Date: 24th September 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
From Leila Sales, the author of This Song Will Save Your Life, comes a compelling and relatable story about the hazards of falling for someone you haven't met yet.Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose: it makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her - including her needy best friend and her absent mum.Arden stumbles upon a blog called 'Tonight the Streets Are Ours', the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, and it feels like she's finally found a kindred spirit. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.During one crazy night in NYC filled with parties, dancing and music - the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does - Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was either.
Where I try and tell you my initial thoughts and fail.
I’ve read Sales’ last book, This Song Will Save Your Life, and really enjoyed it, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the same experience with this book. Sometimes authors can just write one book you really connect with, thankfully Sales is not one of those authors. Tonight the Streets Are Ours was everything I wanted in this book. I got a fantastic contemporary read with good character development with an interesting story and a good friendship.
Tonight the Streets Are Ours follows the character of Arden, who is a good friend, recklessly loyal and who sacrifices a lot for those she loves. She has been raised to believe love is giving up everything for those you care about, putting their needs first because that is what her mother has shown is the way to go. Events happen which lead Arden to question herself and how she acts and whether or not she is being taken advantage of. She feels as if she loves too much and no one seems able to return the amount of love she gives to them. It is really quite an intriguing and awkward story at times. You can relate to Arden’s teenage dilemma of feeling like there is no one in the world who cares as much as she does, it is an age old question of being a teenager whether you are different to everyone else, it may not necessarily be about how much you love, but everyone questioned if they were different in some way.
This book is all about characters, and this is where I will tell you about them and why you should love them too.
I could relate to the awkwardness of Arden's character, she is quiet and a thinker. She does not immediately act but instead plans and thinks of the consequences and tries to put the needs of those around her first. It can often mean she comes across a bit plain and boring, but that’s okay because her best friend, Lindsey, is her opposite and helps bring out another side to her.
Lindsey is very much a reckless character who acts first and thinks later, which is a far more fun character to read about, but it does lead to some issues in the book. I think you need the characters of Arden and Lindsey together, though, because Arden could come across as boring otherwise. As for Lindsey, she would come across as reckless and uncaring if it were not for Arden, they balance one another in their friendship.
There was also the character of Peter, he spends a lot of the book simply as a person writing a blog, it was interesting to follow a story following a reader of the blog and see how she interprets the character of Peter before she travels to try and meet him. I’d never fully considered how people can be different from their blogging character before reading this book and I have to say I found it really interesting. I know people may have disliked the character of Peter, but it’s easy to forget he is just a teenager who is a little lost. He very much reminded me of Lindsey with his impulsive behaviour and his character, unfortunately for him he doesn’t have a best friend like Arden who helps him tone down some of his less likable characteristics. That was how I saw it anyway, I viewed the character of Peter as being a bit lost and in need of a guiding hand which he did not get. I would have been interested to hear more of his story, but then the life of a hipster tortured artist has been done and wouldn’t be interesting, I suppose.
It was amazing how Sales managed to get so much of the characters like Peter and Lindsey across without them actually having vast amounts of page time. You are very much in Arden’s head, but I still felt like you got hints of the real characters beyond how Arden saw them.
This isn’t about romance, this about people and that rocks.
I think the thing I enjoyed most was the fact that there wasn’t a romance to drive the story and take focus away from the characters and the actual people in this book. It is a rare thing for me to say I’m glad there was no romance, romance is normally my driving factor in books (I’m a sucker for romance, and what?) but for once that isn’t what this book needed. Instead, you simply got a book about characters and friendship. It was all about character development and that was what made it so enjoyable because you don’t get enough books free of romance in the young adult genre. This is one that definitely stands out for that fact.
So… to summarise.
As a whole, I adored this book. It isn’t one of my favourite books of the year, but it was one that will hold a special place in my heart for being different. This is a book which does not try to be anything more than about a girl and her journey from discovering a blogger to doing something reckless with her best friend. It was a joy to read a book driven by characters and their own journey in growing up. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a contemporary read which is a little bit different and for one that will get you thinking.
I think it may have been that I enjoyed this book as much as I did simply because it was different to anything I’ve read lately, but I honestly don’t care. Have you ever found yourself reading some thing completely different to what you normally read and loved it for how refreshingly different it was?