September 16, 2015

Recklessly Loyal

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Macmillan; Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR
Pages: 342 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; ARC
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Summary (from Goodreads)
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. 

Thoughts on Tonight the Streets Are Ours
While everyone was raving about This Song Will Save Your Life, I was falling in love with Past Perfect. I bought both books on the same day and quickly became a fan of Leila Sales. I love her writing and so enjoy her stories - every character is unique and yet they all feel so relatable and real. When I found out she had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. I loved the cover, and the summary sounded intriguing! As a blogger, I was drawn to the idea of a book where the heroine finds comfort in a blog.

Arden Huntley believes that her purpose in life is to take care of the people she loves, no matter the cost or sacrifice. She's recklessly loyal, and it's always been a huge part of her identity. But when her mom leaves one day - and her best friend takes advantage of her in a big way - she finds herself in a bit of crisis. When she discovers a blog called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," she quickly becomes wrapped up in the blogger's life. On a whim, she decides to take a road trip to meet him... It's a trip that will change Arden forever.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours opens with a promise:

"Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. 
If it wasn't, what would be the point?"

And while it is a love story, it wasn't at all the kind I expected.

As always, I enjoyed Sales' writing. She's got a way with words, and there were so many sentences worth highlighting. I love that her characters feel real, even when they're unlikeable. I struggled with every character in this book at times. They make mistakes, they hurt the people they love, they lie, they're selfish... I didn't always like them, but I respected Sales' ability to capture what it means to be human.

I enjoyed the story, but I found myself questioning it while I was reading. Arden's obsession with Peter made me a little uncomfortable, and I couldn't stop thinking about how dangerous it was for her to go off in search of him. It would totally freak me out if a blog reader tracked me down in real life (and I don't mean introducing themselves at an event we're both attending). I never felt like there were consequences to Arden's road trip - or at least someone telling her it was reckless and unwise. This ended up being my biggest issue with the book.

Now, that being said, I did love what Arden learned on her trip to New York City. There's so much you can discuss with this book - online persona versus real identity, love and sacrifice, surviving the changing nature of a friendship, and more. Arden learns some hard (but important) lessons about what it means to love someone and how you can't sacrifice your entire identity in the process. There was a lot of growth with her character, and I was absorbed in Arden's discoveries and the way she changed.

It's not a favorite for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed Tonight the Streets Are Ours. I was swept up in Arden's story, especially the second half of the story. It's a quiet book, but it's one that left me thinking long after I finished it.

So Quotable
“But that's the thing: when you swear to take someone's side no matter what, sometimes you have to go to war for them.”
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

4 comments:

  1. I actually forgot the opening line of this book and you're right, it is not the love story you expect. It is a story about what love means, not a romance as you're expecting. That is actually a really smart opening now I think back on it. I do admit it was a bit weird that she went out to track down Peter, it makes you question how much of our lives we should put down on the internet for the world to see. It also made me question what kind of impression I give of myself on my blog in comparison to what I am actually like in real life.

    I agree, Tonight the Streets Are Ours isn't my favourite book, but I really enjoyed it. I was such a different read which led me to question what kind of person I am with my friends and family and it made me think. I could really understand the character of Arden and I'm glad I got to read her story.

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  2. I really, really, really liked TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS. It's got a lot to do with how much I saw of myself in Arden, and how fascinated I was seeing the outcome of her choices. But I also think it was just an interesting commentary on presentation online versus the reality of life, and I loved that aspect a lot too. I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

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  3. I really enjoyed this one. Possibly more than This Song Will Save Your Life which was originally my favorite of Sales' books. (I still need to read Past Perfect though so who knows where that will fall?!)

    The lack of consequences for Arden's trip never registered with me while I was reading the book. I think maybe because the entire book feels a bit unreal with the way things come together.

    I also never really thought about the idea of Peter being freaked out, I guess because he's such an exhibitionist in the story. Although I currently have a coworker who had read my blog for years before we started working together and it's still strange to me.

    Anyway, great review and I totally agree about there being a ton to discuss about this one!

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  4. I cannot get over Arden's self discoveries. It's the kind of trip most people can only imagine taking, but they have the resolution that, upon their return, will be a new person or have a new mind-frame. In Arden's case, she wasn't planning to come back feeling inspired, she just wound up being. Her newness is definitely inspiring.
    - Krys

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