"Recklessly loyal" Arden learns that there is such a thing as too much giving.
Some people, Arden's mom says, are gardeners, and some people are flowers. Hapless, impulsive Lindsey has been the flower to Arden's gardener since the two met as children. Left to her own devices, Lindsey gets into trouble by stashing drugs in Arden's locker or by provoking the ire of the popular crowd when she asks out a girl who turns out to be straight. (It’s too bad these two acts are so neatly equated.) Arden's mother, also a gardener, has left the family abruptly for New York, and Arden is left picking up her oblivious father's slack. Frustrated one night, Arden types a query into an Internet search box—"Why doesn't anybody love me as much as I love them?"—and finds herself captivated by a blog that pops up as a result. It's never fully clear what about Tonight the Streets Are Ours or its wealthy, NYC-dwelling, 17-year-old author, Peter, appeals so strongly to Arden, but the story of Peter's tumultuous romance with a girl named Bianca provides an escape from Arden's increasingly exhausting obligations. The prose is crisp and full of subtle, comic detail, and the girls' climactic trip to New York provides an epic resolution.
Despite occasional predictable or contrived moments, Arden’s tale is insightful throughout. (Fiction. 12-18)