'Tonight The Streets Are Ours' Cover Is NYC Gorg

by Caitlin White

If you want a totally wild night out in New York City, but you don't want the hangover, Leila Sales' Tonight The Streets Are Ours is the perfect new young adult book for you. Following up on her successful novel This Song Will Save Your Life, as well as Past Perfect and Mostly Good Girls, Sales tells the story of 17-year-old Arden Huntley and a blogger named Peter. Peter's blog is the same as Sales' upcoming novel, and Arden finds so much comfort and understanding in his words that she sets out on a road trip to NYC to find him. What comes next is parties, dancing, and music, and some revelations that show maybe Peter and Arden both aren't who the other thought they were.

Tonight The Streets Are Ours isn't out until September 15, 2015, but we're already super-excited. We talked to Sales about her upcoming book and her life, and she gives us an exclusive look at the gorgeous cover of Tonight The Streets Are Ours.

BUSTLE: On your website, you say every novel you write is a learning experience that will help you the next time you write. What have you learned from your past novels that informed Tonight The Streets Are Ours?

SALES: I always want to try something new in my writing. I don’t want to re-tread the same territory as my previous books. So in Tonight the Streets Are Ours, I wrote in a dual perspective: mostly from the main girl’s viewpoint, interspersed with online journal entries from this stranger she becomes obsessed with. In previous books I’d written only in a single first-person, so that was fun and challenging — especially trying to get inside the guy’s head, since I’m not totally sure how boys think!

In my last book, This Song Will Save Your Life, my protagonist starts the book tremendously isolated, so in this one, I consciously went in the opposite direction, writing about a girl who’s over-connected to other people, and the conflicts that stem from that.

I don’t think any author ever feels like, “Cool, I’ve got this writing thing figured out now. So great to have reached the pinnacle of my talents.”

I don’t think any author ever feels like, “Cool, I’ve got this writing thing figured out now. So great to have reached the pinnacle of my talents.” Being a writer means constantly feeling like there’s so much more to learn.

How has your job as an editor at Viking changed the way you write, if it has?

A big part of my job as an editor is reading YA constantly. I read submissions, and I read manuscripts that I’m editing, and I read the competition. As such, I get bored of story elements easily, because I see them too often.

For example, I try not to be too obvious about which character (if any) my protagonists will wind up romantically involved with, because I read so many YA novels where it’s clear from the first chapter. Another example is that I wrote Tonight the Streets Are Ours in third person in part because I’d read so many YA novels narrated in a generic first-person teen girl voice and I’d grown weary of them.

I think the work I do as an editor inspires me to be more inventive and take more risks, if only because I don’t want my books to have the same voice, characters, or plot lines of any other books out there. The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional editor to read a lot — anyone can do it with enough time!

For those who haven’t had a chance to read your work before, how would you describe your writing style?

As wise as Hemingway, as addictively readable as J. K. Rowling, and as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn’s face.

Just kidding.

For real, here are some things I’d say about my writing style:

I’m interested in the magic of the real world. You’re probably not going to find a vampire or an earthbound angel in one of my books. But you will find a girl who gets to become a DJ sensation, or teens who gets to run around all night having crazy adventures around New York City — things like real life, only more exciting.

My writing style is more pragmatic than it is romantic. Don’t get me wrong, people definitely make out in my books, and it affects them deeply. But I don’t posit that the first person you kiss is going to be the last person you kiss, or that the decision of whom to date when you’re sixteen is the most important decision you will ever make in your life.

Also I eat a LOT of chocolate while I write. So that probably influences my writing style, as well.

The theme that most interests me is about the stories we tell, and how those stories wind up carrying more weight than whatever it is that actually happens. People tell us that we are a certain way—or we tell ourselves that we are a certain way — and then it becomes hard for us to imagine that we could be anything different. That fascinates me.

Also I eat a LOT of chocolate while I write. So that probably influences my writing style, as well.

What do you hope readers get out of your newest novel, Tonight the Streets Are Ours?

First, I hope they enjoy reading it. I hope they have a hell of a lot of fun with it, and I hope it makes them laugh.

It would be a bonus if it helps them remember that people’s lives aren’t as great as they appear online, and that just because your Facebook friends all seem incredibly happy all the time, that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up for feeling less than incredibly happy all the time.

To go even a level beyond that, I hope the book makes readers consider the issue of selfishness versus selflessness, to maybe try and create a better balance of the two in their own lives.

Okay, I guess I hope readers get a lot out of Tonight the Streets Are Ours. But mostly I hope they just fall in love with these characters and this world in the way that I have.

As seen from the covers above, Sales and her editorial and publishing team know how to put out a good book cover. And Tonight the Streets Are Ours will definitely follow in that trend. In fact, it might even be the most stunning yet.

Now that is going to be a book that looks fabulous on your bookshelf. If only we did not have to wait until next fall.

Images Courtesy of Macmillan, by Franck Goldberg