Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

by Ann Jacobus

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Overview

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 the right 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 manage 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, Ann Jacobus' Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250064431
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

ANN JACOBUS graduated from Dartmouth College, and earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She's published short fiction, essays and poetry and blogs regularly about writing and YA. Jacobus lives in San Francisco and Chappaquiddick with her family. Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light


By Ann Jacobus

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Ann Jacobus
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7050-5


CHAPTER 1

Paris Métro Charles de Gaulle-Étoile


The train rounds the turn in the tunnel and the interior lights flicker off. Summer Barnes, pressed by the crowd against the doors in the second car, regards the brightness of the station ahead. This must be how it looks when you have an NDE, she thinks. A near-death experience. You're rushing through a dark tunnel toward The Light ahead. Where Dad and Grandma wait with smiles and open arms.

A whiff of the garlicky breath of the old lady leaning into her brings Summer back to the moment.

Nearby, a young Goth girl lays her head against her boyfriend, closing her kohl-rimmed eyes. His pierced and studded face softens as they entwine like tangled wire.

That's the answer, Summer thinks. Three feet away.

Love.

If you're passionate about someone, and they feel the same, everything else must fall into place.

And have purpose.

She's in the most beautiful city in the world and all she can think about is getting on the next flight out. Or finding a pair of ruby slippers and tapping her heels. It's not that she doesn't appreciate it. Paris! La Ville Lumière. City of Light, endlessly cool. Where Mom lives, although seems to spend very little time.

Maybe being stuck in the tunnel has to do with coming to Paris unexpectedly. One minute she was sprawled on her dorm room bed, the next she was staring out an airplane window at the icy black north Atlantic far below.

Or maybe it has to do with the fact that lately, she's always solo. Whatever, the November cold and the short, sunless days weigh her down like a ton of snow.

She just needs to find someone in Paris to hold hands with.

A train thunders by in the opposite direction. Her ears pop.

Brakes screech. Her train jerks to a halt and Summer slams into the garlic lady. They've stopped before reaching the end of the crowded platform.

A woman screams. The rawness vibrates through the station and tunnels.

A trill of panic zaps her. The train doors open and no one moves for two beats. Then she and the others rush out. What if it's a bomb?

No, there's been some accident. Two Métro employees jog down the stairs and force their way through the jittery crowd. One opens the white electrical closet against the wall and the other scurries down the stairs at the end of the platform to the tracks.

Everyone waits. No one leaves. A little saucer-eyed girl grips a man's hand. Summer smiles reassuringly at her. That stupid dad needs to get his kid out of here instead of gawking at the show like a big-mouthed bass.

The Goth girl points at the tracks, her face frozen with shock.

The edgy mob surges forward and people crouch to peer between the cars at something under the train.

Probably a person. Summer struggles to think of ... Little Red Riding Hood, equilateral triangles, unfurled lilies.

It doesn't work. The tracks are practically yelling, Look over here! Plus people are hyperventilating up all the oxygen. She gropes for the silver flask of mandarin orange vodka in her pocket, unscrews it, and takes a deep swig.

Time to partir. She turns and collides with a tall guy in a dark wool coat and hat. "Pardon," she mutters, looking up at him.

He's her age and breathtakingly gorgeous. The kind of guy who would normally look right through her.

"Do you speak English?" she blurts out.

"I do." His dark, sympathetic eyes seem to say, Isn't this strange, isn't life awful?

"What happened?"

"That's a woman on the tracks," he says somberly. "Were you on the train?"

"Yeah." Summer rubs her eyes with her gloved hand. It's weird, but she's close to tears. "Did she ... fall? God, I hope she wasn't pushed."

"Here," he says. He nudges people out of the way by the edge of the platform between two cars. She leans in to look. Two Métro guys are straightening the cloth that is already covering the body.

A black, patent-leather, low-heeled pump lies on its side in the gravel between the rails. "Oh," she breathes. That solitary shoe makes her knees go rubbery. "How horrible."

The guy tilts his head. "Not necessarily. If she jumped, it may have been a release." He pauses. "A deliverance."

Summer blinks at him, then pivots and pushes her way to the exit stairs, heat creeping up her neck. That's exactly what she was thinking — that the lady is so lucky to be out of here. She knows the guy can't read her mind and doesn't mean anything by those words, but there it is: the real, and growing reason why she's got to find someone to love.

CHAPTER 2

The next day at lunchtime, Summer stands in the skylight-lit atrium of the Paris American International High School (aka PAIS). She's pretending to study a large bulletin board. Her search for someone to be with ought to start here even though she's likely the oldest student in the building. She's scoped out the guys in her classes, but needs to look again.

She puts in her earbuds. Her favorite urban blues singer-songwriter, Kentucky Morris, croons to the cello riffs and gospel back up on "Love Me Back 2 Life." She hums under her breath.

Her thoughts drag to the incident in the Métro the evening before. It's like a piece of chewing gum stuck to her shoe.

That round-eyed little girl couldn't see the body, she's sure. Still — people shouldn't off themselves where little kids are, for chrissakes. But what's the best, surest way to do it?

"Ever been in a musical?" says a deep American voice over her shoulder.

She spins around with a frown and steps back. "No." She pulls out her earbuds. "Are you joking?"

"Nope. You were reading the announcement." A guy with a big smile, olive skin, and dark hair that covers his ears stands a little too close. One brown eye looks off about ten degrees in another direction.

"Actually, I wasn't." She had noticed it though: The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

"Going to be a great show. Tryouts Tuesday." He lists slightly to one side. His right arm hangs limp, the fist curled in a tight knot. And his words have the faint imprint of an old speech impediment.

"I'll, uh, make a note of that." She touches her nose ring. He's the guy who limps in the halls. He's in one of her big classes, too.

He grins good-naturedly, warm and real. "You're Summer, right? Got Concert Choir with you." A hanging fern behind his head gives him a bright green aura. "Just arrived?"

She can't help but smile back. "Day eleven, but who's counting?" He's a nice guy for a drama geek, and is obviously making an effort.

"From where?"

"Boarding school." She wants to bolt, the better to avoid any questions about flaming out of St. Jude's School for the Hopelessly Messed Up. But a pack of guys leaving the gym look toward them and one yells, "Yo, Moony!"

"Moony?" she asks. Must be a drama nickname.

The guy jogs over. Three more follow, but hang back. The jock — blond, meaty, and undoubtedly A-list — leers at Summer. Her whole body tenses. She knows what comes next.

"Aren't you going to introduce us?" he asks Moony.

With reluctance in his voice, Moony says, "Uh, Summer Barnes, meet Josh MacDougall."

Josh says, "Hey, hey, hey, Summer breeze, where have you been all my life?"

Heat floods her face. "Seriously?" That's his setup for the punch line?

He blinks. Leans back. "Wait," he says, frowning. He puts his finger to his chin. "Aren't you related to the chicken Barnes? Weren't they, like, giving the birds bad drugs, and exploiting illegal aliens?"

Somebody must have googled her. Few people have the nerve to bring up the family chicken business notoriety to her face — poultry mistreatment and undocumented worker scandals from long ago. It was her grandfather's business.

"Josh?" she says, through gritted teeth.

"That's me." His lips stretch back from his teeth and, unbelievably, he makes a soft hen-clucking noise. "Bawk bawk."

"Clearly, your mother was given bad drugs. Or you'd know not to freaking accost someone you just met with such rude questions. Oh, and dumbass sound effects."

The other guys laugh. So does Moony. "Burned you, Josh," he says.

"Wha? — I — no."

"My god. Look at that top hat," Summer exclaims, pointing. When they all turn, she disappears.

So much for holding hands with any high school boys.

CHAPTER 3

Summer's phone dings in the rest room where she's hiding. A text from Missing Mom, who, as far as Summer knows, is on another continent. But on top of certain details as usual.


Don't forget Mme. LF. Ask about colleges for January.


Crap. She did forget. She's late for her appointment with the college counselor.

She peeks out the door then leans her head heavily against the cool jamb. What's his name — Josh — wasn't trying to insult her. At least at first. She was supposed to say something witty or flirty back.

Not burn him.

Twenty–sixty hindsight.

But she will have to hunt beyond the International School if she wants to meet someone. Where and how is going to take planning.

The coast is clear and she dashes.

Madame Laforge is an American, married to a Frenchman. She sits behind a blond wood desk in a small office that smells like pickles, frowning at Summer's tardiness.

"Sorry about that," Summer says, plopping into the chair. She's still revved from her unsocial encounter. Deep breath.

Madame rifles through Summer's file, purple-framed glasses perched on her nose. "I spoke with your mother, who was quite insistent that I help you as soon as possible. And she's out of the country, I understand."

"Yep." Exhale.

"I have received your transcripts." She adds, "You were a straight-A student in eighth and ninth grades."

Summer knows the shocked tone well. Her average has declined a tad since then. Her last school was for disabled, unable, and unwilling rich kids. Ironically, her one relationship experience, if you could call it that, was there.

Madame goes on, "I understand you'll actually finish at the end of this semester." She glances at the IB art students' calendar on the wall. "In five weeks."

"Yes, ma'am." Thanks to her mother's high-level negotiations and maybe a large donation, the school will let her graduate — even with her abysmal record.

If she passes everything.

Madame's expression says, Good luck with that. "Your academic record is one thing, but I'm not sure how we can downplay this disciplinary history." She purses her lips. "Being asked to leave four schools will be problematic any way we cut it."

Summer gazes out the window at the gloomy day. At Verde Valley School in Arizona, at least the sun always shone. She was there for eleventh and most of her first senior year. It's the only one she misses. St. Jude's was a train wreck.

"While we're on the subject, you do understand that PAIS will absolutely not tolerate the use of drugs or alcohol?"

Summer knows to look directly at her interrogator. "Yes, I do."

Before shuttling her to the airport, the disciplinary committee at St. Jude's played her the grainy clip that some brainless freshman videoed — and the dean confiscated — of her staggering hammered across the dorm lobby and then face-planting outside in the hedge.

If only someone were casting for a last-one-standing party reality show, she thinks wistfully. She'd be a shoo-in.

Madame regards Summer over her glasses. "Is your father here in France?"

Why is she asking? "No." Now he had some drinking issues, but Summer doesn't say that. "He died. Six years ago, next month."

"I see. I'm sorry. Normal procedure is a first meeting with a student's parents, but we'll have to forego that." Madame focuses back on her laptop screen. "We'll be targeting only US colleges, as UK or EU universities are out of the question. If you can bring your grades up for this semester — and there isn't much time, it'll all be over December twentieth — we might be able to swing it." She sighs.

"Right. I've turned in more homework in the last two weeks than I did in the previous year." Totally true.

"Well." Madame licks her thumb and flips through several more pages. "You desperately need some extracurricular activities."

"That could be a problem," says Summer drily.

Madame beams her a look of disbelief.

She shifts in her seat. "Okay, not a problem. I was actually just thinking about helping with the school musical."

"You understand you will need high grades to prove that you have a new attitude."

Remembering Mom's instructions, Summer asks, "Are there any schools that start late January that I could apply to fast?"

"This January? May I ask why?"

"Because my grandpa wants me to." She doesn't clarify that he's dead and left her money that she'll receive only if she graduates from a four-year university by age twenty-two.

"First-semester grades won't be out in time. And based on your records, no." Madame observes Summer over her glasses. "You do understand that we cannot give you another chance if you fail to pass all your classes in the next weeks."

"Yes. I do understand. Everything." She notes that familiar cold, falling feeling. But it's not leaden. It's wispy. Like snowflakes.

When she was eight and on a family skiing trip, she and Dad glided off trail and stopped beneath a ledge. He wanted a nip from his flask. They sat side-by-side in a soft, protected hollow, her body leaning into the safe warmth and weight of him. They watched through the evergreens as snow fell silent and graceful against darkening skies.

Madame says, "Your mother mentioned Arkansas State in Jonesboro, but that would be a 'reach' school for you. North Central Mountain College of the Ozarks in Whipperwillville is a potential safe school."

I'm on to you, Summer thinks. You made that place up. "The Ozarks are awesome," she says cheerfully. "Let's aim for that."

"I'll be checking with your teachers. Please fill out the personal statement form for me online and I'll see you in two weeks."

Probably a whole 'nother year lost now. The thought occurs to Summer, as she shuffles out of the office. She might make a good tabloid headline, though. FORMER HONOR ROLL GRANDDAUGHTER AND ONLY HEIR PROVES WORTHLESS, FLAMES OUT, AND FORFEITS FORTUNE.

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. The good thing about this bad news is it makes her want to prove everyone wrong. She'll bust ass for the next month, and graduate if it kills her. Then worry about where to apply.

And she still wants to find someone to hold hands with. Or else she might as well chug a can of motor oil now.

CHAPTER 4

In the kitchen the next morning, Mom's little dog, Camus, barks at Summer when she sits down. She ignores him despite the pain it blasts through her headache. Mom's elderly Moroccan housekeeper mutters and puts him on the other side of the pantry door, then places a plate of scrambled eggs before Summer.

"Merci," Summer says. Mom's still out of town. The International Herald Tribune and Le Monde lie before her. By the gray light from the courtyard window she searches the city section of the French paper looking for any mention of the lady who died at Étoile station. Fire, robberies — nothing looks close.

"Ouaiba, I'm looking, uh — je cherche ... un accident."

Ouaiba dries her hands on a violet linen dishtowel and approaches.

Summer holds up the paper. "Une femme ... etait mort ... dans le Métro."

"Sacrebleu!"

"Can you help me? Find the story? L'histoire?"

Ouaiba takes the paper and scans the two pages of short local police reports. "Hier? Yes-ter-day?" she asks.

"Thursday. Jeudi soir."

Ouaiba shakes her head. She doesn't see anything either.

No mention, as if it never even happened. It was a suicide then, Summer thinks. If it had been an accident, or a murder, it would be a story.

Summer dresses and heads out. Public transportation is one of the best things about Paris. She's had free run of the city since her first visit at age thirteen. A ton of homework awaits her but she has tomorrow, too. She gets that she has to graduate. She needs to find someone to be with.

As she descends the Métro stairs, her pulse quickens. She stops. Something huge and dark and cold and deadly waits patiently below for her.

Great. Trainophobia. Just what she didn't order.

She grips the grimy handrail, as people push around her. It's as if the lady on the tracks is still there, emitting a repelling force field. She inches forward. Shallow breathing makes her light-headed. She grabs a seat on the train, then concentrates on slow, deep breaths and listens to Kentucky's Safety Glass.

A couple of sips from her silver flask help. It was given to her dad by his fraternity brothers at the University of Arkansas. He kept it filled with scotch. She's a vodka girl, herself.

She emerges in the eleventh arrondissement, gulping in fresh air and proud of her fortitude in overcoming this new little anxiety.

A twenty-foot wall rings the outside of Père Lachaise Cemetery, but she enters by a side stairway. Her mini guide has a fold-out map showing the locations of all the noteworthy residents: Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin, Edith Piaf, and ... Jim Morrison.

"'Hot American lead singer of The Doors and big partier who overdosed in Paris in the seventies,'" she reads. That's the guy to visit.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus. Copyright © 2015 Ann Jacobus. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Romancing the Dark in the City of Light: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
HeresToHappyEndings More than 1 year ago
Such an amazing, powerful book. Lately, it seems that a lot of the books that I have been reading are these light, cheerful stories where the main character doesn’t have any real problems other than which boy she should date. Yes, sometimes those books are enjoyable (usually they are), but many of them are lack a lot of depth, and it seems as if they are afraid to touch on a lot of serious topics that real teenagers deal with. Our main character, Summer, has been moved around from school to school throughout the last few years, mainly because she has been expelled from them due to her poor choices regarding drugs and alcohol. When she is forced to move to Paris with her mother, she starts a new school for a semester so that she can finally get all the credits she needs to graduate. Summer’s mother keeps pushing the issue, because if Summer graduates high school and then from college by the time she is twenty-two, a large inheritance from her late grandfather goes to her. If she doesn’t have a college degree by then, however, the money goes to other family members, who plan on using it for charity. While of course this should be enough of a motivation for Summer to do well in school, she is suffering from depression and feelings of worthlessness, and she also has an alcohol addiction which causes her to make choices that aren’t always very favorable. When she meets a fellow classmate, Moony, who she tries hard to befriend, things begin to turn around for her. She cares a lot for Moony and their friendship, and she feels that she might be able to get on track if she spends time with Moony and makes some new friends. Since Moony does not approve of her drinking or previous drug use, she tries hard to quit the habits and look on the bright side of things, although it doesn’t last as long as she would have liked it to. When she meets Kurt, things change. He’s a little bit older, and he embraces all the things about Summer that Moony doesn’t. He encourages her to drink, and Summer gets into trouble when she’s around him. He loves the dark side of things, and he brings Summer down with him. This book tackles some serious issues that a lot of teenagers deal with, yet for some reason, isn’t really talked about or written about as much as it should be. Romancing the Dark in the City of Light deals with issues that seem almost taboo to discuss, such as alcohol addiction, depression, and suicide. While these are not cheerful topics at all, they are things that a lot of people (adults, teenagers, and sadly, even children sometimes) do deal with on a daily basis. While this book deals with dark subject matter, it has an uplifting message underneath it all that might just make people who are dealing with these types of situations not feel so alone. I was once a teenager who suffered from severe depression, and having this book back then might have made me feel like it was okay, and that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, and that sometimes it’s okay to need help if you feel overwhelmed and sad. I hope that others who read this book feel the same way after they finish it, and the suicide prevention information in the back of the book is a wonderful section of resources that can prove useful if you’re feeling like your depression is just too much. Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Review originally appeared on herestohappyendings.com
Best-of-YA More than 1 year ago
For more reviews head to: http://best-of-ya.blogspot.com/ After getting kicked out of her fourth boarding school, Summer Barnes moves to Paris to finish off her second senior year of high school. She has until the age of 22 to graduate from a four-year university or she risks losing a hefty inheritance—which seems easier said than done at this point. She’s felt lost and alone since the sudden death of her father five years earlier and believes that all her problems will go away if she just meets the right guy. Lucky for her, she catches the eye of two; one challenges her and helps her rediscover life’s beauty, while the other leads her down a path of self-destruction. When her damaging behavior manages to alienate everyone, she has to decide if she wants to continue down this road or if her life is worth living and fighting for. As the title sort of suggests this deals with some dark topics including addiction, depression, and suicide. It is not an easy read so be aware of that if these are things you are not comfortable with or find triggering. As someone who also battled depression at the age of 18, I completely identified with Summer. It was easy to be sympathetic towards her despite how frustrating she was at times because I know what it feels like to be in her shoes. She may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought she was very real and appreciated her straight forward voice. Moony was a great character as well. I can't even image how he has such an optimistic take on life after everything he's been through. I think he and Summer meet just when she needs him most. Kurt on the other had is the complete opposite and encourages her down an even more dangerous path than she is already on. They definitely did not have your average love triangle; it was more of a light vs. dark tug of war that was a lot different than I had expected from how it's written on the cover. I figured out the twist pretty early on but it was still interesting to see that aspect of the plot unravel. I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to give it away, but I thought it was an intriguing take on inner demons and the mental battle that is depression. Overall, I think this is a great read and I wish there were some others out there like it because depression and mental illness is still something that is not talked about enough. (3.5 Stars)
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars! This gorgeous, vibrant-colored cover is what first caught my attention. Then I saw the Paris setting and knew this was a book that was worth the read. It ended up being quiet a bit darker than I had expected, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a stark, raw look into mental illness and severe substance abuse. After being expelled from several schools for bad behavior, including drug possession, Summer moves to Paris to stay with her mother and repeat her senior year. After her grandfather’s death, it is revealed in his will that in order for her to collect the inheritance left for her, she needs to complete four years of college by the time she’s 22. Currently 18, she realizes she MUST graduate this year and get started on college right away to make this happen. Living with her mother in Paris is a new, completely difference experience for Summer. Her mother travels often and is basically never around, leaving her to fend for herself. Upon her arrival at her new school, she meets Moody… an adorable dorky senior who makes his presence known in her life. Summer also has her eye on Kurt, a handsome stranger that keeps showing up wherever she goes. With a flask in her hand and a plan on her mind, Summer sets off to make this time in Paris matter. These characters were, if nothing else, extremely intense. Summer, who was dealing with quite a lot emotionally, was learning to cope with the stress through the use of pretty bad behavior. I felt like all this poor girl needed was for someone to believe in her, tell her that she deserved more. Moody, who was in recovery following a horrific car crash, seemed to have that optimistic outlook that Summer so desperately needed… though he was dealing with his own demons as well. Then there was Kurt. Well, what can I say about him? Attractive with the stealthiness of a ninja, appeared to be everywhere. And I mean everywhere. A tad creepy? I’d say so. Together, this group of characters made for one unique story! I have a lot of difficulty reading about excessive alcohol and drug use, so for me, personally, this was an extremely difficult book to read at times. I think the actions taken by the characters were portrayed beautifully. This author didn’t skim over the tough topics or cut any corners. These issues, including substance abuse, mental illness, and even a few parenting issues, were portrayed extremely accurately, while maintaining the level of respect that’s necessary when addressing these types of issues. Overall, a raw and unexpectedly emotional story. Though difficult to read at times, as I mentioned, it was a harsh truth shoved in the face of the reader. While reading this story, it’s impossible to deny its affect, both emotionally and mentally. I think this is a story that many will enjoy, especially those that tend to look for darker, deeper story lines. A strong story that will surely make you think. A little encouragement and positive thoughts can really go a long way. (Thank you to Griffin Teen for the review copy!)
mfu11 More than 1 year ago
The terms of Summer’s inheritance means she must work hard to get her grades and graduate by the time she’s twenty-two. But Summer’s determination soon starts to slip as she faces numerous difficulties with her family, her past, and the idea of her future. Enter Moony and Kurt – both have a hold over Summer, but which is stronger? Summer’s story is honest and to the point. Her struggles are laid bare for the reader. It’s not a particularly comfortable read, though certainly gripping, and is unlike anything I’ve read before. There’s a constant darkness lingering, surrounding everywhere Summer goes and the people she connects with. But as the story went on, and certain things began to make sense, I realised how truly cleverly and effectively this was written. There’s little more to say without the risk of spoiling, but this definitely had that extra something. The title fits perfectly and I really enjoyed the setting.
RyanBada More than 1 year ago
Link to my full review of Romancing the Dark in the City of Light: https://bookishconfessions1.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/romancing-the-dark-in-the-city-of-light-blog-tour-review-and-giveaway/ This book contains some serious and dark topics, like depression, drinking, and suicidal thoughts. It’s very much unlike any contemporary novel from what I usually read, especially when it’s also categorized as a romantic novel, because most romances are light-hearted and cheerful, but not this one. So because it has that, you can tell it can relate on a personal level, particularly on alcoholics or troubled teens, people who had suicidal thoughts, or people who went through depression and personally, I can’t relate as much to the MC, but mostly on Moony, who’s the one supporting her and tries not to take the easy way out if you know what I mean. Romancing the Dark in the City of Light also showcase one-of-a-kind characters that I don’t see in many other stories, which are truly one-of-a-kind. We have Summer, a troubled girl who went through such a handful during her life,mostly during her childhood and early teenage years and ends up making the bad choices, which she still does in the book. I did have a problem with her decision-making but it’s a part of her. So let’s say I don’t like Summer at all then. Then there is Moony, who is such a great friend who has a great sense of humor who’s always there for Summer, even at the hardest times. And lastly, Kurt. I dislike this character very much. It started out becoming very mysterious and suspicious of what he’s doing just chapters after Summer and Kurt just met. But as it progresses, I just knew you were trouble when you were first introduced. I did get that there was a love triangle, which I don’t love or hate in a book, but in this story, I felt like there shouldn’t be a love triangle. I mean Moony is who tries to make life sounds so special and then Kurt who makes life sounds so pointless or worthless to Summer and if you choose either one, you should be picking the good influence over the bad one, but Summer just doesn’t know it yet until the ending, which was a bit shocking at first, but ended nicely. Again, I’m annoyed with her choices and now you see why. Romancing the Dark in the City of Light was sure an emotional roller coaster ride and was sure the most distinctive out of all of the YA contemporaries, which I would recommend it to people who went through these serious subjects, mostly adults, because it’s something who you can relate so much and struggled similarly like yours, if you’re one of those people. But I felt it was too dark and serious for my taste, but not quite taken that to become a problem for them. And because of it, I did feel a bit uncomfortable with reading it at times but all’s well that ends well. Cover and Premise – 4.5 Stars Characters – 1.5 Stars Story – 2 Stars Pacing – 3.5 Stars Writing – 3.5 Stars Results – 3 Stars