Rating: 2.5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
I’m kinda disappointed.
“Hurting people, really, deeply hurting them – that isn’t something you do on purpose. It’s just a by-product of living.”
Not too long ago I read Leila Sales’ This Song Will Save Your Life novel, and I absolutely loved it. It was so heartbreaking and real. But it was one of those books you know you’ll never re-read again, because it hurt so much the first time. But the good kind of hurt, ya know?
Anyways. I didn’t expect this book to come close to what I had with This Song Will Save Your Life. Honestly I didn’t. I knew better than that.
But I still expected something good. Maybe not great, but still good. And this novel does have many good things about it. But also some bad things that I just couldn’t get past.
I understand this idea of being so loyal to a friend or family member that it’s like you write them a blank check for life. You want to love them so much and you want them to love you back just as much. But the thing is that it’s pretty rare to actually find someone who you love that loves you back just as much.
Sure, they might be your friend and you hang out with them, go to parties with them, talk about boyfriends/girlfriends with them, but would you do anything for them? Would you take the blame for them?
I have this thing called a “2 AM friend.” This is totally something I made up when I was in high school, when I was trying to explain to my mother why I wasn’t being a normal teenage girl and had absolutely no desire to go to parties or really hang out with a lot of my friends outside of school. It wasn’t that I disliked them or anything, but most of those friendships simply existed inside school grounds, but once you left that place, you knew that was the only thing tying you together.
Anyways, this “2 AM friend” is when you get a call at 2 AM from this friend and they need you to either help them or give them a ride or something along those lines, and it’s not life threatening but just something they need your help with, would you get out of bed and drive over to them and help them out? If yes, then you’re their “2 AM friend” and you love them to smithereens. And if your answer is yes, then you need to ask yourself if they would do the same for you.
Because this was the problem. I knew when I was in high school that I would be that “2 AM friend” to a lot of people if they needed me. If one of my friends needed to call me at this time to rant and cry about a boyfriend or something, I would be there, no question. If someone needed me to get in the car and drive somewhere to help them get home from a party because they’re hammered, I would do that.
But then I asked myself if they would do the same thing for me, and most of the time, I realized the answer was a big, fat no. I didn’t even have to think about it.
This novel had the same idea. Arden is the “2 AM friend” for everyone. She wears her heart on her sleeve with all her friends and would do absolutely anything for anyone, anytime. Sometimes they wouldn’t even have to ask, because Arden would just see something they might need and go ahead and help them without being asked.
But lately Arden is beginning to realize that she has very few friends who would do the same for her. And she’s tired of it. People have grown to expect these selfless things from her and she’s exhausted.
“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.”
So she find this blog called Tonight the Streets Are Ours and begins reading about this boy, Peter, who is putting in words all these things Arden is suddenly feeling.
And here’s where I had my problems. Because Arden has a particularly bad day where she planned and spent so much money to make this one special thing work for her and her boyfriend and then he backs out because something else came up, she kind of loses it. And she drives to New York to track down Peter.
Now, before all this, I was thinking Arden was a smart, logical girl . . . And then she somehow thinks driving to New York – a city she has never been in before – to somehow track down this boy who she does not know and could very well be a serial killer, I lost all hope. She does not know Peter’s last name, but she knows he works at a bookstore somewhere in New York. So what does she do?
She gets her best friend to come with her and call every bookstore she can find asking if a Peter works there.
And by the minimal chance they do find a bookstore where a Peter works, who’s to say it’s the same Peter? And how is Peter going to react when Arden introduces herself to basically say “Why, yes, I do read your blog, which is basically reading your diary, and I love everything you write. I’m a fan. Want to get some dinner?”
But somehow, this all works out (lo’ and behold) and Arden meets Peter. And he’s not freaked out even slightly by Arden’s behavior. This should also be a hint to Peter’s true character.
I couldn’t buy this. I understand bad days. I understand that sometimes we do rash and stupid things when we meet our tipping point, but driving to New York to track down a blogger Arden has become obsessed with? No. Just no. That’s too far fetched for me.
Now, there are some very good lessons in this book. While Arden’s feelings of being underappreciated are valid and she has every reason to feel that way, there are always two sides to the same story. And this book is a perfect example of that.