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Author: Ann Jacobus
Release date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook



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.


NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT is an intense, beguiling and intriguing story about a girl who is struggling with alcoholism and depression and is overwhelmed by all that it takes to go on living. She’s seduced by the darkness while at the same time she’s desperate for anything or anyone that will keep her from it. Unable to face the truth about her issues, unwilling to ask for help, and unaware of what was really going on in her family, she clings to the only person who seems to care.

Ever since her father’s death and her mother’s escape to Paris, Summer Barnes hasn’t been able to keep it together. Her grades plummeted. Her drinking escalated. Her friendships deteriorated. She was kicked out of every boarding school she attended.

Going to school in Paris and living with her mother for the first time in years was her last chance. If she couldn’t turn things around quickly, graduate, and get admitted to college, she would risk losing the large inheritance her grandfather left for her.

But, try as she might, the lure of money wasn’t going to be enough of an incentive to keep her on track. She wasn’t even sure that Moony’s friendship, his strength, his light, would be enough. Especially when the very alluring Kurt was always there reminding her how harsh that life is, how worthless she is, and how easy it would be to stop trying.

Ann Jacobus took a rather interesting approach to writing about suicide in her novel, allowing readers to better relate to her main character by letting them see its appeal as her character did, without glamorizing it, then showing both reader and character alike its unpleasant side. She tackled the issue in a way that is both fascinating and informative, providing some insight into who might struggle with it and how they might overcome its allure. And she brought a spark of hope and optimism to a story that might otherwise be quite sad, heavy, heartbreaking.

The author introduced three compelling characters in her story. Summer Barnes is not someone who is easy to like or connect with, but she could be sympathetic, and her issues are relatable. Moony is someone who is, on the surface, very much different than Summer, but who has more in common with her than even she knows. And Kurt promises to be a bit of a mystery to those who don’t immediately understand him, his motives, his intentions.

ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT deals with a difficult subject matter. While the story flows easily, it’s not an easy read. It’s dark. At times it’s weighty. At others it’s so very sad. But it’s also a uniquely told and absorbing read. And it shows that even when there is so much darkness, there is also always some light.

The Rating


About Ann Jacobus
Marc Olivier Le Blanc photography, Pictures by San Francisco Photographer, advertising and editorial.

Marc Olivier Le Blanc photography, Pictures by San Francisco Photographer, advertising and editorial.

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.


The Giveaway

I’m giving away ONE (1) copy of ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT.

  • Must be 13 or older to enter
  • There will be ONE winner
  • Giveaway is international to anywhere The Book Depository ships
  • Prize will be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
  • Giveaway ends on October 31st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
  • Winner will be contacted by email and announced in the Rafflecopter
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

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