Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus (Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway)

October 6, 2015 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review 14 ★★★

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus (Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway)
Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Blog Tour
Pages: 288
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.
This book may be unsuitable for younger readers due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence. Note that this review itself does not contain any inappropriate material.


Follow the Fantastic Flying Book Club’s Tour Schedule for this book here!


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.

Favorite Quotes

“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.”



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About the Author: Ann Jacobus

Marc Olivier Le Blanc photography, Pictures by San Francisco Photographer, advertising and editorial.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.

( Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook )

Rating Report
Overall: 3.2

14 Responses to “Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus (Review + Favorite Quotes + Giveaway)”

    • Alise

      Aw, I hope you get some time to finish it eventually! Yeah, this one was definitely character driven and relied on Summer’s internal thoughts more than a outside plot. Moony is the best! Thanks :)

  1. Peach @ Rebelle Reads

    Anything with Paris always has me hooked. Summer is one of the realest protagonists I’ve seen in a while, especially in regards to her alcoholism, and Moony is absolutely adorable! Fantastic review, Alise!

    • Alise

      I couldn’t agree more! Her dark thoughts were so real and genuine, she felt so authentic. Everyone needs a Moony. Thank you :)

  2. Kelly

    I really enjoyed Paperweight and liked the protagonist in that one too, and Summer really does sound like a similar character. I’m a big fan of that personal type of narrative, where you can really feel what they’re feeling. But that cover is absolutely divine! I’ll buy it based on that alone. Fabulous review Alise and absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look! It’s so lovely and summery <3 <3 <3 <3
    Kelly recently posted…MAAAAGNUS! Magnus Chase and The Sword of The Summer

    • Alise

      Ooh, then I could really see you enjoying this one too! Yeah, this is a very character driven novel and Summer’s thoughts are so authentic and genuine. Thank you so much!! :D

  3. Olivia

    This seems like one of those books where there is a whole lot more to it than first meets the eye, so I am glad there are reviews like yours to tell me about it! I love the sound of realistic characters and it sounds like a book which handles issues like these ones very well. I am interested in reading more about this one and seeing what i think before making up my mind as to whether or not it is a read for me…
    Olivia recently posted…The Silver Linings Playbook (Review)

    • Alise

      YES, that’s exactly how I would describe it. I didn’t expect a lot of what happened in this book at all, it was a little out there but added to the strength of the novel as a whole.

  4. Romi

    This definitely does not sound how I anticipated it would (cover judging. Apparently I’m guilty of it without even realising)- I, too, was anticipating a fun, bubbly contemporary with romance. But your review paints a pretty different picture, and for a lot of it I thought this wouldn’t be something I, personally, would probably read. But then I got to the quotes, and just… the feeling behind them. The darkness and the brokenness of the character. I’m thinking this is definitely one I should think more full about whether I want to give it a go. I’m not sure how I’d enjoy it, overall, but quite possibly it would be incredibly powerful. And who can turn up a powerful book? (:
    Romi recently posted…Perceivable Intensities (1)

    • Alise

      I feel you! Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, I’m happy with what it ended up being about! I know what you mean, this definitely isn’t one that everyone will enjoy but the strength and the struggle and overall genuine feel of the main character is worth the read, in my opinion!

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