Friday, July 8, 2016

We Own the Night ~ Ashley Poston (earc) review [@ashposton @bloomsburykids]

We Own the Night (Radio Hearts #2)
Bloomsbury Spark
June 28, 2016
250 pages; ebook
add to Goodreads/buy from B&N/or Amazon

"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.

There were parts of We Own the Night that I really enjoyed and some parts that just did not work for me. The storyline that dealt with Ingrid, her grandmother, her grandmother's Alzheimer's and the responsibility Ingrid felt to stay with her and care for her was very nicely done. We see both Ingrid's love for Grams, who's raised her, loved her and taken care of her Ingrid's whole life, but also her desire to leave Steadfast - and the conflict and guilt that creates.

I loved her relationship with her Grams and how the portrayal of how the Alzheimer's was affecting them both. We see some of how Grams is deteriorating, especially when it's alongside Ingrid's memories of how things were, how it can be difficult for Ingrid, but also how heartbreaking.

 The whole story involving Micah and how Ingrid might be in love with him was something I could have done without. I could understand why Ingrid thought she felt how the thought she felt about him, romantically. Where it didn't work was that they were supposed to be best friends - and how long she held onto those romantic feelings. There are a few scenes of them as 'friends' but most of their interaction and how he treats her, certainly does not feel 'friendly,' or like they're beset friends. I couldn't understand why he held such weight.

I did have to sort of suspend my disbelief when it came to the idea that no one knew Ingrid was Niteowl. It is a town of three hundred and forty seven people, with twenty three people in Ingrid's graduating class; that her secret identity stayed secret felt unbelievable. (At least to me, after having lived in a town ten times Steadfast's size.) She has to be the only one who says, 'Bless,' that often both as Niteowl and as Ingrid and she doesn't exactly sensor herself (saying she has three best friends, etc.

There were a few instances where I thought some more editing would help (tense weirdness, phrasing, timing) but nothing major. The romance was a bit off for me, Ingrid's feelings for one character didn't make sense and the deal with another seemed obvious (but not to her). I did enjoy  the parts of the book that dealt with Ingrid's grandmother, Ingrid's desire to leave Steadfast and all that she had to deal with with reconciling those two directions.

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