Title: We Own the Night
Author: Ashley Poston
Synopsis:“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.
This book was a cute insight to deeper topics, fresh with pop culture references and cute romance as well as coming-of-age realizations and questions of morality and moving forward.
To start off… A few random things I specifically liked and want to mention:
- You get the idea that Ingrid is on the chubby side, but she doesn’t care. I love that.
- Ingrid’s best friend, LD, is a really well-thought out character, and her development alongside Ingrid was wonderful.
- The last 25% of the book took a sort of unexpected, dream-like turn, which I think fit well with the story. It was not-quite-plausible, but believable enough that I really enjoyed reading it. And FUN. While the first half of the book went at a slower pace, the second half zoomed by.
Now, let’s talk plot. There were aspects of it that I thought were original and fun, like Ingird’s Niteowl persona and her job at the radio station. As well as that, there were some beautifully written, magical moments. Where I think this book was lacking was its cliches. The writing was beautiful, but the overall storyline (minus the DJ gig) felt a bit oh-this-has-been-done-before.
Let me elaborate: Main character has lived in the same town her whole life, she gets picked on, etc. She wants to get out but no one ever seems to leave, and there’s something holding her back (her grandma has Alzheimer’s and she’s caring for her alone). Her mother abandoned her, she’s in love with her best friend, yadda yadda yadda. And of course there’s the mean girl and jock and the golden boy. The story line was fairly predictable (well… most of it. The end, maybe not). Also, side note: what’s up with the bless?? Yes, people say it all the time, but Ingrid not only said it but thought it 15 times (I counted) during the last 50% of the book. Seriously, girl? That much blessing is not necessary. Looking past those cliches (and the number of times Ingrid said bless), however, was a beautifully crafted story of a girl just finding her way in life, which I really, really enjoyed.
As for the characters? A few of the characters were very well developed (LD, for instance), but I felt like I was missing something in terms of the development of most of the more minor characters, including the background of Ingrid’s supposed best-friend-that-she’s-actually-in-love-with. We were constantly told of their history together, but we don’t get much actual background, so the reader just has to take that fact in stride. One thing I really would have loved to see more of is the character of Heather (the mean girl), because I felt like she had a lot more depth to her character underneath what we got to see. And although I enjoyed our MC Ingrid, she didn’t quite feel real; she felt a little too naive and implausible for me to fall completely in love with. I did, however, really love reading about these characters, especially the relationship between Ingrid and her grandma.
While, yes, there were a number of things that could have been improved in this story, it was, all in all, a really adorable story that I enjoyed reading. I would recommend it to someone looking for a light, slightly different contemporary that can be breezed through in no time flat.
Overall, a 3.5/5 stars.