“Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls…”
As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay “Niteowl” by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock ‘n roll and a hard place. She can’t wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can’t abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer’s, or her best friend Micah–who she may or may not be in love with.
But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn’t timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She’s the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy’s manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular– Dark and Brooding–whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she’s in love with Micah or anything. Cause she’s not.
As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.
And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, released June 28th, 2016, via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
What an incredible surprise.
I had two main reservations about this book before I started it.
The first was that it was published by Bloomsbury Spark. Don’t get me wrong; I love Bloomsbury, and I have nothing against Bloomsbury Spark. It’s just that the last time I reviewed Bloomsbury Spark books on the blog, they were from the Spark sampler. Most of the books in that sampler felt way more NA to me than YA, and I don’t read NA. They weren’t my type of stories, that’s all.
The second was that this is the second book in a series I didn’t love the first time I approached it. Ashley Poston’s The Sound of Us was included in the Bloomsbury Spark sampler. I don’t remember it being in that sampler, which is the problem. It wasn’t particularly eye-catching or memorable.
But oh, was We Own the Night eye-catching and memorable.
It started out slowly. At first, it feels like a book about a bunch of friends, pretty harmless stuff. The farther you get into We Own the Night, the more sincere you realize that it is. This story is touching, funny, and hopeful.
It’s everything I wanted from the first book, and so much more. I fell in love with the main character, Ingrid, who is one of the greatest book characters I’ve read recently. She’s genuine. She’s super loyal to her friends and family, and she has big dreams. Even though I think we’re different in a lot of ways, Ingrid struck me as one of those book characters who I could know and love and be good friends with.
The other characters in We Own the Night aren’t to be disregarded either. Yes, the supporting characters are pretty cookie-cutter, but… I can’t describe it. It was almost like satire? Or irony? I didn’t think a book could ever convince me to believe in a romance with a “Mean Girls worthy nightmare”, but this story did it. It brings in clichés and it laughs at them before defending them. Needless to say, it was a special experience, and I’m impressed by the way Poston pulled it off.
Then there are Ingrid’s three best friends. This story is very much about the four of them, but it recognizes that they’re all their own people. They have their own lives, and they slowly break apart over the course of the story. In the words of Jenny Han, they’re trying to be in each other’s lives without being everything to each other. Life pulls them apart, but they still find places where they fit together perfectly.
The writing is where I really need to commend the author.
I’ve read books about small towns before. It’s almost guaranteed I will dislike the book if it’s about how the much the character loves/hates his or her small hometown in the Midwest or the South.
But Poston’s writing brought everything together and executed this idea perfectly. I felt like I was there, with Niteowl and her friends and her struggles and the world. Poston’s is compulsively readable and refreshingly honest without being too much. It’s not flowery, but it manages to grab your heart and rip it out in the same way Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars does.
All I can say is read this book. You won’t be disappointed. 4.5 stars.
Series: Radio Hearts #2