“If you live long enough, your reward is that you get to watch everyone you love die or leave you behind”
Title: Tonight the Streets Are Ours
Author: Leila Sales
Publication: September 15th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Publisher at ALA Annual
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.
Unpopular opinion time. In my review policy, I specifically state that I am going to be honest with my reviewing – and this is going to be one of those times when it hurts. You know the pain when you’re excited for something and then it lets you down faster than your partners in a group project ever could? Yea, well, this was one of those times. I had such high hopes for Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the cover is gorgeous, the synopsis was intriguing, and there was some serious marketing going on before this book was released – but the book itself failed on epic proportions. I hate giving bad reviews, I have this inadvertent need to love every single book, so when I can’t make myself like it – tolerate it even – no matter how hard I try, it either throws me into a rampage or makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry for loss of faith in the world. You see where I am going with this? When it comes to this book, I find myself stuck somewhere between the two. I rage quit during the middle of my work shift (one benefit of working at the library: you get to read until someone asks for help). But now, sitting here and trying to write this, I find myself edging more towards the side of sadness.
I desperately wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t force myself to get into it. The characters were seemingly one dimensional, the story line a complete disappointment, and the overall organization was way off.
The characters, oh how I wanted to kill them all. I hate Lindsey, I mean, what kind of idiot stores pot in their locker that they share with their honor roll, perfect best friend? I mean, seriously? Lindsey was pathetic, I understand Arden’s need to protect her, but that girl does not deserve Arden as a friend if she can’t even take responsibility for her actions. Arden gets suspended and Lindsey goes on like nothing ever happened. What a bitch. Personally, if my friend ever did that to me you could count that friendship over. Arden herself wasn’t that great either. At first, I tolerated her and her constant need to care for everyone else. It was understandable, but it also pissed me off to no end. Enough is enough. That girl seriously needed someone to hit her over the head with a brick. There is a certain line you don’t cross when it comes to protecting your friends or whoever else it may be – Arden was beyond the point of selfless, she was just an idiot. Being selfless means being kind without any thoughts about what could happen to oneself, but Arden took that to an entirely different level. Best friend who doesn’t give a shit about you stores pot in your locker? Sure, I’ll take the fall for it just so my friend can keep running on the track team, college isn’t that important anyway. Basically, that was Arden throughout what I read of the book. There came a point when I couldn’t stand it anymore and I had to walk away. Also, her obsession with loving people more than they could ever love her was annoying. She had no sense of self-preservation when it came to her feelings, which I both pity and hate.
The idea of going on a road trip to find the man behind the blog/journal/website Tonight the Streets Are Ours was somewhat ridiculous. Arden feels as if this man will understand her because he seems to feel the same way she does about people. She finds his website on a google search when asking “Why don’t people love me as much as I love them?” and his site pops up with the exact quote. Now, I’m all for cheesy romance and cutesy novels – but this was borderline creepy. She decides to take a road trip to go and hunt down the writer behind this blog, which is stalking. Honestly, if anyone ever did that to me I would call the cops and run. That’s terrifying. I get that the whole thing was supposed to be cute and out of the box for her, but it was just creepy as hell.
The organization, shoot me now. This book jumps all over the place like Tigger on a Pogo stick while on crack. Each chapter was something different, a few years in the past, present day, a couple months or even a couple hours ago. It was so frustrating! There was no indication about what the hell you were going to be reading unless you read the chapter titles – and boy, let me tell you, those did not help in the slightest. They were so vague! Chapters like “Arden Realizes that the Grass is Always Greener” and “Things With Chris Weren’t Always Like This” were the norm, and it made me want to tear the pages out and burn them to fuel my hate fire. It was so confusing, I don’t even know what else to say about it without wanting to bang my head against the wall. I don’t know if Leila Sales’ other books are like this, but I hope not.
Tonight the Streets Are Ours is the epitome of disappointment. Like eating at the school cafeteria because you are poor, it makes you want to puke, hide in the bathroom, and vow never to make the same mistake again.