Arden can be described as “recklessly loyal.” When her best friend Lindsey gets herself into trouble, Arden is the first one there to pick her up or bail her out. She sacrifices things for the people she loves, but lately those sacrifices have felt less satisfying. Her picture-perfect mom walked out of their frame, and Arden starts to feel unappreciated by the ones she cares about most. She stumbles upon “Tonight the Streets are Ours,” a blog by Peter, an aspiring New York writer, that puts her own thoughts into words, when she searches, “why doesn’t anyone love me as much as I love them?” And when she drops everything and takes a road trip to find him, she has one crazy night that shows that not everyone is always as they seem.
I picked up this book on a whim at a Fierce Reads panel at Little Shop of Stories, and I started reading it looking for something quick and fluffy. Road trip? Love? Mystery boy? Typical, yes. And just what I wanted. Alright, so Peter and Arden will live happily ever after and she’ll find herself on the way. I’m ready.
That’s not this book.
That’s not this book at all.
And I instantly fell in love with the unpredictability and excitement between the covers of this seemingly average novel.
I mean, look at the front. It seems like a fru-fru love story if I ever did see one. And I can’t say I minded, either. Even before knowing it wasn’t typical, the first line had me hooked.
The story you are about it read is a love story.
If it wasn’t, what would be the point?
These words literally made my breath get caught and my hands tense around the cover. Of course love stories are the only meaningful stories, I thought to myself. Of course, because, otherwise, what would be the point? These two little sentences still cause my skin to tingle and make me consciously stop everything.
The book is so beautifully written, in my opinion. I love the simplicity of everything paired with the teenage voice and flowery descriptions. It’s easy to read, and it’s relatable. There’s obviously deeper themes, but it’s still a cute contemporary book. I think her writing style perfectly contrasted these two ideas.
And then there’s the plot. The entirely unexpected plot. Yes, it’s a love story (obviously), but it isn’t just a teenage romance. It’s beautiful. It’s about love and what it means and who to love and how to love them. It’s about loving not being in love. It’s deep, bro.
The only real critique I have is that sometimes the themes were a little too obvious. Every single thing that happened had a purpose, foreshadowing or creating tension or paralleling other stories or symbolizing the themes. This was both good and bad. It caused more layers to the story to discuss and show how everything connects, but sometimes I needed the networking to calm it down a bit.
I really wasn’t expecting to fall so deeply and madly in love with this book, but I definitely did. It’s anything but average. It pushes the envelope of young adult contemporary romance, and I think it takes the genre one step closer into focusing less on teenage lovers and more on love and relationships in general.