Title: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
Author: Ann Jacobus
Published: October 6th, 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books
Length: 278 pages (paperback)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program (is it still called that?)
My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤
A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.
Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.
Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.
When Summer’s behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.
I absolutely LOVED the cover, which is what immediately got my attention. And then I saw that it seemed like a love triangle, which I’m a sucker for. And there’s a bad boy, which I can never resist. Plus, it’s in Paris! Come on, it had to be romantic, right?! So when I won a copy on Goodreads, I was super excited…and even more excited when I got it in the mail.
WHAT I LIKED
The plot. From the cover and the book blurb, I thought this would be some cute, typical contemporary romance. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a dark story, and it addresses serious issues. Yes, there is a girl. Yes, she is caught in the middle between two guys. BUT, I wouldn’t call it a love triangle. One guy represents life and hope. The other represents death and evil in a way. It really isn’t about which guy Summer should end up with. It’s about her journey through life, which she is struggling so much with, and whether or not she finds something to live for. And it is done brilliantly. Kudos to the author for such a creative, meaningful story.
The characters. Okay, you are either going to love or hate Summer. She can be irritating and come off as egotistical and selfish, but you have to understand that she is suffering tremendously. Personally, I loved her. I have been through depression, and I think her thoughts and behavior were completely realistic. And I adored Moony. He has been through so much but has this positive outlook on life that is admirable. He is just what Summer needs. And then we have Kurt. When I read the blurb and saw that there would be a hot, dangerous bad boy, I thought I would love him. Turns out, I kinda despised him. But, he’s intriguing and there’s a mystery behind him. You kinda learn to love to hate him.
The very real issues. This book tackles suicide, depression, and alcoholism. And it made the story so very real and authentic. It’s not just about a cute romance where the main problem is whether or not a boy will fall for the girl. This girl is dealing with a lot more than that. And it was heartbreaking but also so refreshing because not a lot of YA authors are brave enough to address these issues.
The end. Or I should say the last quarter of the book. I am not going to give anything away, but WOW. That is all I can say. Wow. Amazing. Just read it. You’ll see what I mean.
WHAT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER
Umm…I’ve been trying to think of something I didn’t like, but the things that bugged while reading it all made sense in the end. So I can honestly say that there was nothing I didn’t like.
After I read this book, I immediately looked up Ann Jacobus, and I was shocked to find out that this is her debut novel. Are you kidding me?! The writing, the storytelling, the characters, everything was so well done. I couldn’t believe it! Okay. I have read very different reviews of this book, and I can understand the negative comments because this is a very different book than what you’ll expect. But it’s SO GOOD. I feel incredibly lucky to have won a copy and to have had the opportunity to read it. I am seriously a fan. I just want to read more from her. Trust me when I tell you to read it. Just do it. It’s beautifully written, has unforgettable characters, and an incredible, unpredictable plot. I can’t stop thinking about it.
5 out of 5 Hearts!
Ann Jacobus writes children’s and YA fiction, blogs and tweets about it, and teaches writing. She has a B.S. from Dartmouth College and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In her spare time she volunteers on a suicide crisis line, attends her kids’ soccer games, and reads. Her debut YA thriller is Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, out from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press October 6. 2015. San Francisco is home to her and her family.
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