Review: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Ann Jacobus - Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
Published: October 6, 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 288
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, GoodreadsBook Depository
Rating: 3.5/5

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.

Well, this was interesting.

Anything + Paris = HAPPY ME, so naturally I had to have this. Though the cover and title reveal a romance, it isn’t exactly so, and the depiction of Paris is pure gold, so I may just recommend for that alone.

After being booted from numerous boarding schools, Summer Barnes is soon on her way to her next school. This one, though, in Paris. She is dismayed, however. She’d much rather spend the year with Aunt Liz in San Francisco but has been forced to spend the year in France with her mother. Oh, the horror.

As Summer gets the hang of her new school, she meets a boy, Moony, who is half-crippled from a prior car accident. Moony goes above and beyond for Summer. They study together. They share occasional cute moments. But despite his sweetness, not even he can cure her most deep-rooted issues.

And while traversing through Pere Lachaise alone, she meets Kurt, a man of mystery. After spending more time together, Summer becomes enraptured by him as well. He leads her through a dark and dangerous path, stalks her repeatedly, and has unexpected mood-swings. And in spite of all this, Summer runs back to him whenever he calls.

As I said, I definitely enjoyed the depiction of Paris. Whereas in Anna and the French Kiss, only the good and golden were shown. I think the goriest thing in ANNA were the rabbits hanging in the meat market. Otherwise, it was: “Ohmigod, Parisian food is so good! Parisian boys are so hot! Parisian films are so cool!” but here, Summer hated the food, the boys were zitty, and she passed prostitutes on her block.

(Just so you know, it’s nothing against ANNA. I actually happen to love that YA.)

Back to Summer. She has a problem. An alcoholic one. She carries around a flask and occasionally drinks herself to drunkenness at home. I have to commend Jacobus on this aspect. I’ve never seen an addiction so heavy, especially in a girl so young, be dealt with so well. But as she’s getting it with Kurt, he starts egging her further into the dangerous life and she’s automatically into his ideas. SELF CONTROL, GIRL. GET YOSELF, SELF-CONTROL.

The ending was a little too Adam Sandler romcom cliché to me. But if not for the romance, I’d definitely recommend for the representation of Paris. Check it out!