I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on September 15, 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Lifestyles, New Experience, Young Adult
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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.
Tonight the Streets Are Ours is one of those books that is so realistic that it can make you feel a bit nostalgic for your lost teenage years one second, but in the next it reminds you just how much of a bitch those years actually were. This novel isn’t a romance, it’s a very realistic look at what it’s like to be a seventeen-year-old girl who chooses to take care of everyone that she loves, and it certainly isn’t very happy or pretty at times.
Arden Huntley knows that her place in the world is to be the best friend and family member that she can be, whether it’s just supporting her school musical actor boyfriend while he does the audition circuit, runs her younger brother to his basketball games, or takes the fall for her best friend Lindsey’s bad judgement calls. It’s just what Arden has been taught to do, but when she finally realizes that these relationships aren’t as two dimensional as she’d like, she googles “Why don’t people love me as much as I love them?” And this simple search leads her to New York teenager Peter’s blog, Tonight the Streets Are Ours. Peter posts about his missing brother, his on-again/off-again relationship with Bianca, and his difficult relationship with his unsupportive rich parents. Arden feels like she gets to know Peter and sympathizes with him, and on a whim when she’s finally had enough, Arden and her best friend Lindsey set off on a trip to New York City to find Peter. But will Arden find that Peter is everything that she read in his blog or will she be disappointed?
Arden’s role model of love is her mother–the woman who gave everything of herself to her husband and children until she had nothing left to give and snapped, walking away on Arden’s dance night during the family dinner. Arden thinks that to love someone she should always protect them and do whatever she can to keep them happy and safe, even when that makes her unhappy in the process and leaves her feeling used up. Arden has her backstage work, but she doesn’t have anything else to do but be a good student, good friend, and support everyone else. As Arden meets up with Peter and they experience a wild night of parties, limo rides, and deep discussions, she starts to see that maybe everyone lies to themselves–especially when it comes to what they put out for the world to see.
I give Tonight the Streets Are Ours a four out of five. The character development was excellent, even during the slower paced first half of the book building up to Arden’s breaking point. This is such a realistic book that I didn’t enjoy the characters the entire time because they were too real, and real people are insensitive jerks that are out for themselves. But I have to applaud Leila Sales for capturing such a realistic picture of humanity, even if I was cringing and wanting to hide my eyes for the characters at different parts of the book. Overall, this is an entertaining read about a girl who needed to learn to give a bit less of herself while those who love her need to realize that they should reciprocate every now and then.