Book Tours · Books · REVIEWS

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

“You are your own person. You have your own strength.”

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.

Personal Thoughts:

When I signed-up for the blog tour of Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, I honestly didn’t know that the book is about suicide. I thought it is a light read about couple falling in love while in the city of light, Paris. And since I love Paris so much I thought I’ll read the book. So color me surprised when I found out that this novel is is not a light read and not so much about Paris. Instead I got a more meaningful read as the novel braves to touch two sensitive topics – suicide and alcohol addiction.

I already lost count how many contemporary YA novels that deals with suicide and mental health illness I have read this year. And it seems that YA contemporary novels are full of these themes lately. I’m not sure what that it means, but if writers are tapping into reality just what most contemporary writers are usually doing then this fad in YA contemporary fiction is something we should think about.

As much as I applaud authors for their willingness to engage and educate their readers about mental health issues like depression, suicide and addiction, I am also concern with how these topics were handled. These are very sensitive topics and I think that both writers and readers need to be more careful with them.

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

In this novel, I think Anna Jocobus actually deliver a realistic story of someone who is suffering from depression and alcohol addiction. Summer, the main character can’t get through a day without alcohol in her system, and just like most of those with addiction, Summer doesn’t recognize that she has problem. This is where Anna Jocobus succeeded, she portray Summer and her condition realistically.

Summer is not a very likable character but she’s is a very true example of someone suffering from addiction. She’s the kind of character that will received mixed feedback from readers. I myself get frustrated with her for always making the bad moves and wrong decisions but despite of that I root for her. I still want her to be better and see things differently.

At first I don’t like that Summer is actually trying to find her purpose and salvation through a guy or boyfriend. As much as I enjoy reading romance I don’t agree that falling in love or finding romance is the solution to depression. Love won’t magically cure addiction or mental illness. It can be a factor but not the only ingredient. So when Summer finally realize that she can settle for Moony’s friendship I finally see improvement from her.

As for the plot twist regarding Kurt it’s not exactly surprising for me. I guessed it about first quarter of reading. I just wish that it was handled more rationally in the end. As much as I want to discuss the issue more, there are spoilers I don’t want to delve into.

Overall, Romancing in the Dark in the City of Light is a haunting and powerful novel. Anna Jocobus successfully weaved a realistic story and tackles sensitive topics with honesty and ease.

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