It’s not often that we get a story as beautiful as the cover, and Tonight The Streets Are Ours is a perfect example of the cover doing the story justice! This was one of the stand-out reads of the year for me, it was so carefully crafted and made me think about how I treat others, it also has the perfect “imagine a person as an actual person” storyline that I’m such a sucker for. Other books with this theme include Dash And Lily’s Book Of Dares and the obvious Paper Towns.
Arden: At first I didn’t think I would like Arden. She’s a little too nice for her own good and I couldn’t believe that she would just accept possession of drugs to go on her school record without realising that this would most likely affect her entire future. Of course it’s going to go on your permanent record! However, as the story progressed I noticed Arden and I share a few traits. Tonight The Streets Are Ours really made me question why we do nice things for other people, what’s the real motive? Are we doing it because we generally want to help someone else or because it benefits us? Arden shows that it’s not good enough to be nice to people only when it suits you, she was consistently adorable and most importantly: rational.
Peter: The author of the Tonight The Street Are Ours blog that Arden becomes obsessed with. Sales really explore what it’s like to have an online persona. Although this would probably have been more reflective of today’s society had Peter been a Youtuber, but then that would have taken away from the fact that Arden was imagining him as someone completely different personality-wise and physically. In his blog posts he seems sweet and caring, seriously how could anyone be mean to a guy like this? How could Bianca dump him twice? In reality he was very different, as is the way with online personalities. You have complete control over who you are on the internet and you can select which parts of yourself you want to share to manipulate people’s opinions of you.
Lindsey: Arden’s best friend. In some tales of friendship only the main character has a complex and detailed personality and even the best friend is left a little unfinished. I am unbelievably happy that I can announce that every single one of these characters is well development and had their own voice that bleeds personality. Lindsey and Arden were each other’s antagonists despite being best friends. For some reason this just screams realistic. Not all friendships are golden, a lot of them are toxic, or become toxic, when no one in the friendship realises.
It’s hard to put into words how much I loved this story, there are so many life lessons to learn and this story really shows you how to identify people that you want to keep in your life and the people the are damaging. It also shows that relationships are tough. Friendships are tough, family life is tough, boyfriends/girlfriends can be torturous and although sometimes things can work out sometime you have to say goodbye.
Tonight The Streets Are Ours is mostly a character-based story. In fact, the plot is probably the only far-fetched thing about the novel. Arden is on a mission to find Peter which takes her on a rather fantastically tour of New York and puts her face to face with the issues she’s been pushing away regarding her mother. New York was my favourite part of the book. The dialogue is so real. The teenagers say what they feel without thinking and it’s so raw and realistic. It’s not perfect. It’s not like some stories where the characters say the perfect thing at the perfect time and their utterances come out in paragraphs of beautiful prose that would have taken a normal person two days to ponder over. It’s so beautiful.
The pacing was phenomenal, with just the right amount of backstory and present day anecdotes. The writing is literally seamless, I honestly love it when authors can slip into a memory and come back without having lost their way in the middle. I gave this books five stars because it was so fantastic and has just bumped all of Leila Sales’ work to the top of my TBR list.