Title: Romancing The Dark in The City of Light
Author: Ann Jacobus
Published: October 6th, 2015 (St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books)
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Themes: Mental Illness, Depression, Suicide, Alcoholism, friendship
Rating: Four Stars
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.
Cover Thoughts: I loved it so much I featured it in a previous cover feature. It’s gorgeous.
First Line: The train rounds the turn in the tunnel and the interior lights flicker off.
First Thoughts: I am not super into this writing style but I’m very intrigued at the concept.
When I first saw this amazingly covered book on Goodreads, I knew I wanted it immediately. It gives me Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins vibes, Given the fact that it’s pink, it takes place in Paris and has to do with a Parisian high school. Unlike Anna though, this wasn’t a sweet, fluffy Contemporary. No, it was a lot more darker and sinister,
Don’t be mistaken, if you want a lighthearted book, Romancing is not it. And that’s great. Romancing The Dark In The City of Light shows the darker side of Paris, it shows sewer systems and death by train and alcoholism and depression. It shows it all beautifully done. The title is very aptly done, I know some may be turned off by such a long title, but by the end, it will click in place. I have a new impression for the title since reading it and I already loved the title.
In the beginning, I had a hard time reading this because of the third person narrative it was told in. I think as I read on though, that the third person definitely fit the feel and tone of the book. It gave me a sort of outsider’s perspective that I kind of liked.
I wasn’t connecting well with the Summer or what she wanted. As the story progressed, I grew closer to Summer and could really understand her sort of desperation. When we meet Summer, she just wants to find someone to hold hands with in Paris, to find someone to be with. This is what she thinks will stop her from doing the worst thing possible to herself, killing herself. I was a little confused by Summer because I couldn’t see how another person would really stop her from committing suicide. Of course, I should have known better, one person can make all the difference.
This became much clearer to me as the story progressed. Summer, I think, was pretty lonely. She’d been kick out of school after school, finally settling down in one in Paris where her mother lives. This time though, she can’t afford to mess up. Literally. Summer has an inheritance from her grandfather that will be given to her when she turns 21. If she graduates high school and graduates college in those four years she has left.
Summer was a hard character to like a lot, it was difficult to relate to her, immediately. It makes sense as well given the fact that her father died when she was younger and her mother’s always gone. Summer drank everyday and was an alcoholic. I found this storyline to be really interesting because it’s not often in Young Adult that I encounter a teenager who is an alcoholic. By the end, I loved Summer and could relate to her.
Besides alcoholism, Summer clearly dealt with mental health issues such as depression. Seeing Summer go through her struggles sort of gave me strength in a way. I could relate in her doing what she felt she needed to in order to get through the day or wanting to do what could very well end her life. Summer was hopeless, mostly alone and struggling with her schooling as she skipped classes. Ultimately, Summer was lost in trying to figure out who she was and how she fit in life. Her inner dialogue was much like mine is sometimes and I felt so much for her seeing her feel so low.
During all of this though, Summer meets two guys, Moony and Kurt.Do not be fooled by the romance listed in genre, if anything, it’s a very light plot that is unique. Moony and Kurt were complete opposites, where Moony was positive and bright in Summer’s life, Kurt was dark and dangerous in her life. When Moony was younger, he’d been in an accident which required many surgeries. As a result, he walks with a limp. Summer’s initial feelings of him aren’t the nicest, but they grow fonder of each other. Moony is as independent as his cane will allow him to be, he refuses Summer’s help and doesn’t let her dwell in her issues alone.
My feelings on Kurt are kind of conflicting because I don’t know what exactly I think of him. Well, I think he’s an awful human being and completely evil, but as for his actual person, I’m not really sure of him. I can’t say anything more without really spoiling it, so you’ll just have to read to find out! I will say that Moony and Kurt were definitely dark and light when it came to Summer’s struggles. I found both characters to be amazingly unique given the way they were written. I thought that was fantastic and clever.
Overall, I thought Romancing In The Dark In The City of Light did very well with showing mental illness, depression, alcoholism and addiction. It showed how each of these things can play a part in the others flaming up. I found the writing to be very beautiful by the ending and it fit the tone of the book well. I would definitely recommend this book, buy it and I rate it four stars. The only thing that would have made me rate it higher would have been to like the beginning more and for it to be longer. I think Romancing is a story that will definitely give those struggling (like myself) hope to face life one day at a time no matter what they’re struggling with.
That’s the answer, Summer thinks. Three feet away.
If you’re passionate about someone, and they feel the same, everything else must fall into place.
And have purpose.
She just needs to find someone in Paris to hold hands with.
At least she didn’t get the “choices” lecture today. It is so time to be finished with high school and she has screwed up long enough.
Someone to hold hands or drink champagne with. Someone who could make life a little more meaningful.
~Do I Recommend?~
~Who Do I Recommend It To?~
Fans of darker Contemporary
Fans of Fans of The Impossible Life
Fans of foreign location settings.
~Will I Purchase?~