Rate: 4 out of 5 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.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I thought this book was a particularly interesting one to read. It was darker than I was expecting it to be and although there was technically a love triangle, I didn’t actually find myself getting annoyed by it in the same way love triangles can irritate me so much in most books.
I found Summer a character who was easy to care about and empathise with. I felt it was good that she was clearly suffering from things that are a reality for people to deal with, no matter what age they are. I enjoyed her interactions with Moony and it was good to see how he was trying to involve her in his life, even when it seemed hopeless with how much Summer was going through. (I know how painful it is to watch someone you care about put themselves through that…)
I had quite a few theories about Kurt, but even by the end of the book, I’m not sure I understood everything about him.
There was quite a bit that was dark about this book… and that I wasn’t expecting, even from the title. I found it easy to be drawn into the darkness that was plaguing Summer, which meant my emotions were all over the place while I was reading this book. While I couldn’t say I enjoyed it… I did find it particularly well-written and there was a lot that I felt really hit home.
I didn’t like Summer’s mother very much. I thought that she wasn’t that concerned with her daughter and some of what she said was really harsh. In many ways, that added to my sympathy for Summer – I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into her mother.
It seemed like there was a very small amount of characters in this book. While I think that can sometimes be a problem (especially in a school environment), I felt it worked to focus my attention as a reader entirely on Summer.
I found this book to be a quick read, but I wouldn’t say it’s very easy. It does deal with some very difficult issues, but these are issues that are prevalent in reality and I think it’s important for people to be aware of them.
In the future, I would read more books by this author… but I don’t think I’ll read this one again. It felt very emotionally draining the first time through.
Summer hesitates; Moony hesitates, too. Their faces hover a few centimeters apart. She breathes in the smell of his clean skin, the old leather from the helmet strap. Cookie breath. He’s so right.
She leans back slowly.
And she’s so wrong.
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