(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on September 15th 2015
Genres: Dating & Sex, New Experience, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.
Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.
During one crazy night out in NYC 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 desperately wanted to love this book, and maybe that’s where my problem lies. I had expectations that were just too high. I blame This Song Will Save Your Life for that entirely.
Arden Huntley is 17 and known for being ‘recklessly loyal’… at least that’s what her Just Like Me doll says, and I’m sure you’ll say it too after reading this story. Arden is always taking care of everyone else… it makes her feel like she matters and it gives her purpose. It totally helps that her best friend is a bit of a screw-up and her mom has left the family.
After a google search brings up a blog “Tonight the Streets Are Ours” Arden finds herself enthralled with Peter’s life in New York and a rash decision has her and her best friend driving across state lines just to find him.
So let me just get a few things out of the way here as to what I didn’t like. I hated Arden, I hated Lindsey, I hated Chris, I hated her mom and sort of her dad too, and I really hated Peter by the end of things. That’s a lot of hate right? It’s almost impossible to come back from that. I swear to you I have my reasons! I feel like not a single person in this book knew our main character Arden… sure, maybe you could argue that her mom did and I wouldn’t completely disagree with you, however, this is a woman who just up and left her family. Walked out and didn’t come back except to pack a bag. If I had been Arden I wouldn’t have had anything to do with her attempts to finally reach out to connect and explain. Her father was so engrossed in his work and when it wasn’t work it was fantasy football that he had no clue what was going on in either Arden or her brother’s lives. And Chris & Lindsey… I just can’t. I wanted her to stop being such a doormat with both of them. It was just so frustrating to read!
Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. If it wasn’t, what would be the point?
Here’s another big issue for me – that sentence above had me expecting a completely different book than what I got. I was expecting a love story. This was most definitely in my opinion NOT a love story at least in any way I feel a love story is depicted.
I can completely appreciate Sales story here for what it is though, despite the fact that I hated everyone and that says an amazing thing about her writing in general. What Sales does is delve into the many different kinds of relationships a person can have and the persona’s we might take on while in those relationships. The idea that maybe we can identify to being the one in a relationship who is always the one giving and giving and letting everyone just take… The feeling that you’re the one who is always caring more, loving more, wanting more… I get it.
I will say that I can also appreciate Arden’s growth in this story. She comes to some pretty major realizations over the span of this one night in NYC and that at least made me happy. I think it was also really interesting the way Sales depicted how people can connect online having never spoken or met or even shared comments. While it was somewhat creepy that Arden felt such an extreme connection to Peter, enough that she straight up drove 311 miles to NYC to find him and meet him, I can appreciate the idea that through words you can form a connection and that’s what Arden felt for Peter. So can we get back to her plan to go to NYC and meet up with some strange guy she hadn’t ever met and was basically stalking to find? I just couldn’t understand how someone could possibly think that was a good idea. Like ever.
Overall, this just didn’t wholly work for me. There are definitely some things that I liked, but overall, not among my favorite reads this year. If you’re looking for a story filled with complicated relationships, and maybe not a love story in the traditional sense, give this a try… there are definitely others who felt much different than I did. Also – if you haven’t read This Song Will Save Your Life – do it. Now.
Thank you to Macmillan for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.