Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Blog Tour
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Genres: Depression & Mental Illness, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult
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 was expecting ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT to be a fun contemporary novel set in Paris with a love triangle (which I was actually really into because the synopsis totally sold me on it) but what I got was so different-and a whole lot more meaningful.
Our protagonist, Summer, is so incredibly real. Not everyone will like her, and that’s kind of the point. She reminds me a little of the protagonist in PAPERWEIGHT, so if that character rubbed you the wrong way you might have the same issues with Summer. Still, her thoughts and behavior are what make her such a authentic and genuine character. There are Summers out there everywhere and I think this book shows us the reality of her struggle and teaches us to have a little more compassion, even if it is hard to do so at times.
The writing almost feels like a personal narrative, it has a lot of personality and allows us to really get inside Summer’s head even though it is in third person limited. Her dark thoughts are relatable but I do have to say they can be little overwhelming and could potentially be triggering. I don’t agree with all of her viewpoints and thoughts but she’s in a troubled place. Even still, I didn’t have any issue connecting with her or caring about her.
So, about the romance. I would have to argue that this one doesn’t have a true love triangle. It’s hard to discuss without mentioning spoilers as there is a truly surprising twist surrounding one of the guys. All I can tell you is to keep reading and you’ll understand in the end. As for the other love interest-where can I buy one of him? I need one.
Towards the very end I was wondering how on earth everything was going to be resolved, and then I turned the page and things were wrapped up in a few paragraphs without a whole lot of explanation. It just seemed a little abrupt.
Overall, ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT covers topics and real issues that we need to be more open and supportive about. Despite having a few issues with it, I appreciated the takeaway message and would still recommend this novel.
“Kindness is like hope. It feeds hope. Which just keeps us around to suffer more, she thinks, anger blazing.”
“He laughs. What a great sound. A hum starts in her, warm gold notes in triplicate for violin strings, a cello, and a sax.”
“A hollowness expands within. Like deep space. Cold and dark and movement-less. Absolute zero. Her whole body, and beyond. It’s so quiet it’s almost peaceful. But not quite. A few cosmic rays from some distant, collapsed star still registers.”
“All the time, distance and effort in the world can never undo what she did, she thinks. Second chances are glowing stars, but some memories are black holes. Somehow, she’s gotten sucked too near to the edge of this one. That point where light no longer escapes.”
“Humans are capable of incredible things. Full recoveries against the odds.”
About the Author: Ann Jacobus
Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lived with her family for many years in the Arabian Gulf and in Paris, France. She now lives in San Francisco where she writes, reads, volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line, and frequently resorts to crock-pot meals of canned soup, fowl and whatever’s in the fridge.