Recklessly loyal. That's how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Taking care of 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.
I admit that I was a little intrigued by this book because the whole track a blogger down scenario. As a blogger myself, that piqued my curiosity. I wish it had fully lived up to its potential. I didn't love the book, but I didn't hate it either.
First of all, Arden was a goody goody and pretty annoying. In the beginning of the book, I kind of liked her, probably because I could relate to her. Her mother taught her that she needed to put charity to others above everything else and Arden really took that message to heart. But then Arden's mom just left the family. She left after a fight with no explanation or word. In the book, the mom does eventually give an explanation but it's months after she leaves. When her mom leaves, Arden takes it upon herself to take care of her brother. Her dad is pretty absent (not unusual with most YA books, I think). He is always either at work or engrossed in his fantasy football. The problem with Arden was that she did all these things for the people in her life, but got upset when they didn't go to the same extreme for her. She basically made sure her little brother was taken care of at all times and she thought she had to take care of her best friend, Lindsay. It wasn't even just Lindsay. Arden also had a boring, cookie cutter boyfriend that she didn't really have strong feelings about but still felt the need to do everything to make him happy. And she got mad when he didn't return the favor.
I am not sure how I feel about the friendship between Lindsay and Arden. At first glance, it seemed like Lindsay was taking advantage of Arden. But Arden took it upon herself to try and solve all Lindsay's problems. Arden had the thought at one point that if you love someone, you should solve all their problems and sacrifice what you want to make them happy. Ummm . . . no. That's not it at all. There was one scene where they were dealing with a car breakdown. Lindsay kept suggesting ways to fix the situation, but Arden just snapped at her about the uselessness of her ideas. Then later, when thinking about that scene, she thought that Lindsay should have solved it for her. Really?? Lindsay has ideas that Arden shoots down and it's somehow Lindsay's fault that she didn't have a magic wand.
The reason she stumbles upon Peter's blog was because she typed in the question, "why don't people love me as much as I love them?" Ugh, gag me. Part of Arden's problem was that she sacrificed so much for the people that she loved, but if they didn't make sacrifices for her, she assumed they didn't love her as much. I think part of the reason Arden loved Peter's blog so much was because she thought he was the same as her. And maybe he was. The problem was that she assumed she knew him from his blog and she also assumed that everything in his blog was true. I think we have a tendency to do that with all bloggers though. Even book bloggers (as opposed to the life blog that Peter wrote), we write our own version of what is happening with us and we only put out there what we are comfortable with. I think maybe Arden just felt so alone with all of her over sacrificing (much like her mother) and she wanted to talk to someone who understood. That's how I rationalized it anyway.
I do feel that Arden grew by the end of the book, but I kind of felt some of it was too neat and too tidy. It was literally like she learned everything she needed to know about herself in one night. And I hated the epilogue. It tied everything together in a neat little bow and it told where everyone ended up over the next several years. I hate epilogues like that. They are unnecessary, in my opinion.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. It does have its moments.