From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling for a person you haven't met yet.
Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and 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 mom.
Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.
During one crazy night out 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.
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published: September 15th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Two and a half stars: A book with terrific character growth, but it suffers with unappealing characters and a lackluster story.
Arden is surprised but not worried when she is called to the principal's office. Arden is a good student, responsible and loyal, and she never gets in trouble. Once in the office, the principal waves a plastic baggie in front of her, asking what is in the bag. Surprised, Arden shrugs, she has no idea what is in the bag because it isn't hers, despite the fact that it was found in her locker. She quickly realizes that the bag belongs to her best friend, Lindsey. Arden decides to take the blame because knows that Lindsey with her record would be expelled and her chances at college gone. Later, Arden wonders to the internet why anyone doesn't love her as much as she loves them, since she is always sacrificing for those she loves. The internet in response to her musings, delivers a blog written by a young man, Peter, who lives in New York. Peter has pondered the same question. Before long, Arden is avidly reading Peter's blog. Can she find someone who loves her as much as she loves in return?
What I Liked:
- I struggled with Tonight the Streets Are Ours. I went in expecting a nice, feel good romance, but what I got was a coming of age story that explores love, in a non romantic way. So even though this didn't deliver a fluffy romance, it was a strong story with a good message.
- Arden is a character who is easy to like. She is a good girl, loyal, kind, and she is always sacrificing and doing for others. Arden is a giver, unfortunately she is surrounded by takers. Thus, she finds herself questioning the nature of love. I enjoyed Arden's strong spirit, and her generous soul. I wish I could have a friend as loyal and as true as Arden.
- Even though I was hoping for a more feel good tone to the book, I liked that it was realistic and true to life. Once Arden starts reading Peter's blog, I expected her to run off and find Peter, and for a romance to follow, which in reality, isn't likely going to happen. I won't go into spoilers, but I will say that I appreciated that this book didn't strain believability.
- At the heart of the story is Arden's exploration of love. Arden has spent her whole life being a giver, always doing for others to the point where others take advantage of her generosity and kindness. During the story, Arden learns some hard facts about love, and in the end, she learns that love is more than giving and taking and that there must be a balance. She sees this truth not only in her friendship with Lindsey but also in her parent's relationship.
- I struggled with the cast of characters, I found most of them unlikable except for Arden. However, I was surprised when I met the true Bianca. I liked the way she came clean and accepted responsibility for her actions.
- I appreciated that this book ends with a nice Epilogue down the road that catches the reader up with Arden and the others down the road. I always enjoy seeing how characters fare in the upcoming months. No nagging questions.
And The Not So Much:
- I wanted to really like this book, but alas, I struggled with the characters, the lack of feel good, no romance (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) lack of feel good, and the depiction of New York City. The cast of characters, aside from Arden are unlikable and selfish, especially her friend Lindsey. It is always hard to enjoy a book when you can't stand most of the characters. Arden was the one bright star in the book.
- I picked this up expecting a light, fluffy romance, and instead there isn't a romance at all. No romance isn't bad, but the story leads the reader to believe something is in the works, and then there is nothing. If you are thinking this is a cute, sweet, romance book, think again.
- Arden becomes invested in a blog she starts reading written by a young man in New York named Peter. I was expecting some exciting and interesting blog posts, but in all honesty I could have cared less about Peter. I didn't see why Arden was so interested in his blog, it was boring. When Peter shows up in real life, I liked him even less, especially when I learned all of his secrets.
- The pacing of the book is slow and lackluster. For three quarters of the book, practically nothing happens. The reader follows Arden through her mundane life, as she struggles with some issues and reads Peter's blog. When she takes an impulsive trip to New York in the final quarter of the book, I thought it was going to get really exciting. It does get better at this point, but not enough to save the read.
- Speaking of New York City, I was expecting to be charmed and shown the magical sites of the city, and instead, all I got was the darker rather depressing side. The whole trip to New York City was a flop, other than Arden's learns the some truths.
Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a book I am sure many readers will appreciate. It does have a powerful and important message on love. I wanted to like this book, but I struggled with pace, unlikable characters, boring story line, no romance and lack of feel good. This wasn't a good fit for me, but if you are reader that wants a realistic coming of age story, check this out. I would recommend borrowing it.
"But I know one thing: sacrificing everything that you care about in order to make another person happy is not love. It's not really that some people are gardeners and some people are flowers, Arden. It's that we both must be both, each in our own time."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.