Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales


Title: Tonight the Streets Are Ours
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling or 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.

This is where I admit that despite having copies of all her books on my shelves (some of them for YEARS), Tonight the Streets Are Ours was the first of her books that I read. And I had high hopes for it. Though those hopes weren’t exactly met, I still found myself loving this story.

Arden Huntley is keeping her family from falling apart after her mother left. That’s who Arden’s always been. She takes care of the people around her and she will be loyal to a fault. But always being the one to take care of everyone gets to be tiring and Arden can’t help but feel like her friends and family don’t love her as much as she loves them. When she stumbled on a blog called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” Arden immediately connects with the writer and becomes captivated by Peter’s story. So when Peter’s girlfriend breaks up with him, Arden decides to drive to New York City to see him. For one night, Arden gets to do something for herself instead of worrying about everyone else. And during that one night, Arden will discover so much about herself, her family, and the boy she traveled to see.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that despite having owned many of her books for quite some years, it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I finally read a book by Leila Sales. Honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long. Two years ago, I was really excited about This Song Will Save Your Life, but somehow never got around to reading it despite having been told by lots of people that I should read it. But I decided to finally get my act together and read one of her books. And so I read Tonight the Streets Are Ours. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t have high hopes for it. Because I totally did. And some of those hopes were absolutely met. And others, took on an unexpected form. All together, it make for a reading experience. But one that was still really enjoyable. I guess the main thing that was different than I expected where Tonight the Streets Are Ours is concerned is that the love story was not what I thought it was going to be. I was totally expecting something romantic to happen between Arden and Peter. And that’s not really what this story was about. Instead, it was more about falling in love with yourself. Which is a great message, just not quite the one I was expecting.

I loved seeing the growth and character development in Arden as I read through the story. It made me appreciate her that much more. And her journey from someone who focuses on others more than on herself to someone who finally learns to put herself first was a great one to see. It definitely wasn’t without its obstacles. And for a good chunk of the book I just wanted to tell her to do what she wanted, not what she thought she wanted or what other people wanted her to do. I just wanted her to stop putting so much unnecessary pressure on her shoulders. And Ioved when she started letting go. Even if letting go meant getting somewhat obsessed with someone she’d never met (though, really, haven’t we all sort of been there, in a way). And I’m not going to lie, I became a little obsessed with Peter, too. I loved getting to read his blog posts and finding out him that way. And much like Arden, I had trouble reconciling the Peter from the blog, and the Peter she actually met. To be completely honest, I didn’t really much care for the “real Peter,” I liked “blog Peter” a whole lot more. But that showed just how much social media allows us to be someone completely different from the person we really are.

Even though it wasn’t quite the story I thought it was going to be, I still really enjoyed reading Leila Sales’s Tonight the Streets Are Ours. It was an interesting story with an unexpected twist on the romance. And it reminded me that I have lots of Leila Sales books sitting on my shelves that need reading.

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