Author: Leila Sales
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult
That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.
Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.
Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.
During one crazy night out in New York City 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.
My rating: 4 / 5 Stars
I have to be completely honest. I disliked Tonight the Streets Are Ours from the beginning. It wasn’t the writing. Leila Sales writing was just as amazing as it was in This Song Will Save Your Life. My dislike for the story was my inability to connect with the main character, Arden.
“Recklessly loyal” Arden drove me nuts. She was so self-centered (even when she was putting others first) and unlikable. Arden’s “loyalty” was completely irritating to me. While she found herself to be the reliable, good friend, she tended to do things for all of the wrong reasons. Arden had a “Poor me. No one loves me as much as I love them.” thing going on and it wasn’t cute. She portrayed herself as being a giving person, but I found her to be completely self-serving. I couldn’t connect with her and I didn’t want to. It made reading the story painful at times.
As I pushed myself through Arden’s thoughts and interactions with friends, I began to wonder where the story was going. Was I even going to like it if I didn’t like Arden? She played the victim and I wanted to see her get a reality check. I wanted her to pull her head out of the hole she buried it in and see beyond herself. I wanted her to treat her mom well, to stop playing the martyr and to figure out who she really was.
Then, Arden meets Peter. Well, she doesn’t truly meet him. She discovers his blog. Arden has finally met someone who shares many of the same feelings she does. As she gets to know Peter through his blog, she becomes obsessed with it. Her obsession begins to shape how she sees herself, her friends, family and Peter and his friends and family — and not necessarily in a good way.
“Now, wait a minute…” you’re saying. “You gave it 4 stars, but you disliked it?!?!”
Yes. Yes, I did.
I may have had to wait until nearly the end, but the last fourth of the book was exactly what I had been waiting for! It was filled with surprises and truths.
On an unexpected road trip to meet Peter, Arden finally begins to question her reality. She begins to grow up and see beyond herself. Her road trip brings about an ah-ha moment with a message that’s perfect for YA (or all) readers.
So while I didn’t love or connect with Arden until the very end, I still loved the writing and the outcome of the story. No matter how annoyed I was with Arden the entire time, that couldn’t take away from the ending. The ending was perfect, entertaining and thoughtful. It made all of my feelings worth it. Tonight the Streets Are Ours ended up being a book I would highly recommend to YA readers.