I love Leila Sales. I'm a biased super fan of her books and I was so excited when I bought Tonight The Streets are Ours. Not only is it a Leila Sales book, it is also one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen. Win win.
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.
When I started reading this book, I had no idea what it was about and I think that's probably the best way to approach this story. It is so filled with twists and turns that limited knowledge really helps you get carried away by it, so I deleted half of the Goodreads summary for this post. I feel like this is all you need to know going into the story, however there's plenty to say about the story without giving away the plot (and if you do disagree with me, the full official summary is here so knock yourself out!).
What I adored about this book is the friendship between Arden and Lindsey. Their friendship is complicated; Lindsey always gets into trouble and Arden feels like it's her responsibility to fix things "because that's what you do when you love someone." Not surprisingly, this creates a lot of tension between two 17 year old girls, but I loved the idea of this. In so many YA novels, female friendships are filled with tension because the girls are too selfish, get distracted by boys/school or just grow apart when growing up. While this is realistic for teens, I liked seeing a friendship where one girl is just undeniably loyal to her friend; not to a boyfriend, but to her female friend. It's refreshing and so healthy to see represented in YA books.
A big theme in this book is social media, and a lot of Goodreads reviewers seem to take offence to the negative way social media is portrayed. I disagree with this completely. Tonight The Street Are Ours shows that we make everything we see and read on social media personal to ourselves. Arden reads Peter's blog and completely projects her own experiences, fears and ambitions on it and isn't that what we all do? We read about other people's lives and relate it back to ourselves and what it says about our life by contrast. Leila Sales shows the dangers in doing this, but also how healing this can be during certain periods in our life - we need escapism and social media is just another form of it.
This is no surprise, but I adored this book. The writing was amazing, the characters were so relatable (though I'm not at all like Arden and would never give so much to a friend without getting anything back), the plot was full of tension and executed so well. I don't know what else to say, besides that this is one of my favourite reads of 2015 and that five stars doesn't do it justice.