Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

About The Book:

  Title: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
  Author: Ann Jacobus 
  Pub. Date: October 6th, 2015
  Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
  Pages: 288
  Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads 
  Rate: 3/5 stars

Synopsis :

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 love books about mental illness. I think there is a need for them in the world and I wish more authors would be brave enough to write about this touchy subject. I initially wanted to read this book because a) I like love triangles, b) I've never read a book set in Paris, and c) I like unique contemporaries. While reading the book, I quickly found out that a) This is definitely not a love triangle, b) Paris is kind of frightening in this context, and c) This is DEFINITELY a unique contemporary. 

“Kindness is like hope. It feeds hope. Which just keeps us around to suffer more."

Fan Cast of Summer: Saoirse Ronan
Summer is not my favorite main character, it's true. It's not so much that she pushes other people away, as much as she kind of complains about it when she does. She lies to herself about everything. There's a point where she is basically trying to convince herself that she is trying in school, when in reality she makes no attempt at even trying unless she's with Moony. Speaking of Moony, he was my favorite character in the story. The exact opposite of Summer, Moony tries so hard at EVERYTHING he does. Despite his terrible past, he still has a positive outlook on life. When we figure out that Moony can see Kurt too, I have that much more respect for him. He doesn't let his sadness consume him like Summer does. I figured out pretty early that Kurt was more of a symbol for someones internal struggle. The way he kept popping up out of nowhere was a little too convenient, even for a creepy stalker lol. Kurt was a really clever character and I love the angle that he played. 

Fan Cast of Moony: Brenton Thwaites
My biggest complaint with this book was that I didn't realize Summer was depressed until later in the story. It is written in 3rd person, so you really never know what Summer is feeling. I feel like maybe if I went back through the story, I might be able to find some subtle hints before it was revealed. I think making it a tad bit more obvious that she is depressed before she reveals thoughts of suicide would make this a more effective mental health story. Another problem I have is that if only select people can see Kurt, wouldn't they look at Summer like she was crazy when she was talking to him? I wish this would have been explained - maybe it was and I just missed it somehow. 

“Don't forget. Things will never, ever get better. Ending it now is best. 
And you'll leave the world a better place without you."

I think the ending of the story wrapped things up nicely, especially since the book itself is pretty short. Usually shorter books tend to have a rushed ending, but not this one. The last third of the story was extremely emotionally draining. That's when you really figure out the underlying problems that everyone is going through. The story goes from moderately happy to downright miserable in pages. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy dark contemporaries or books involving mental health. I'm interested in seeing what this author comes up with next. 
***Thank you to St. Martin's Griffin for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.***

- Jocelyn 

1 comment:

  1. I'm kind of on the fence about this book. A lot of people say that the main character is not their favourite, but I do want to give it a try for the theme. Lovely review!