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Romancing the Dark in the City of Light: A Novel

Review

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light: A Novel

Ann Jacobus’s first novel, ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT, follows the troubled life of Summer Barnes, a girl who just moved to Paris to live with her mother. In Paris, Summer hopes to complete her senior year of high school after being expelled from multiple boarding schools. Summer’s life is complicated by the fact she must also graduate from college by the age of 22 to inherit the family fortune, according to the very specific terms of her grandfather’s will. While Summer struggles towards graduation, she slowly falls in love with her mesmerizing classmate, Moony, but also encounters Kurt, a handsome but dangerous older man.  As Summer becomes closer to Kurt, she attempts to cope with both her drinking problem and her depression, falling farther and farther off the path towards her graduation.

Although ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT may appear to be a typical young adult romance novel, Jacobus’s first novel is not for the light of heart. Heavy themes such as suicide, depression and alcoholism are woven into every chapter as the characters fight their inner demons.

The intelligent and thoughtful quality of Jacbous’s writing and the uniqueness of Summer’s character make the novel worthwhile for all readers who are looking for a more serious, darker read.

Summer, however, is a character that readers long to see successful. She’s a realistic girl who approaches her issues with painfully well-intentioned fixes that often fail to meet the mark. Summer’s downward spiral will break the heart of readers as they beg her to find the strength to make the right choices. In addition to Summer’s likeable character, Jacobus’s beautiful imagery when describing Paris will resonant with the reader.

The novel is fast-paced, with action flowing easily throughout the entire work. Moony --- an Arab American living in Paris who is learning to cope with disabilities after an almost deadly car crash --- provides a unique and lovable characterMoony’s positive attitude and almost unrealistic, unwavering friendship towards Summer provides a great contrast to Summer’s constant battles. Moony’s and Summer’s dialogue is comfortable and engaging, and their relationship provides just the right amount of lightheartedness to the novel, creating a perfect juxtaposition between the dark relationship of Summer and Kurt. Kurt’s character creates a vivid and interesting representation of Summer’s battle to fight against her depression and alcoholism, as he constantly encourages her to engage with her inner demons.

ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT is ideal for anyone struggling to understand and cope with their addiction or depression, but the novel’s focus on suicide may be of concern to some readers. Still, the intelligent and thoughtful quality of Jacbous’s writing and the uniqueness of Summer’s character make the novel worthwhile for all readers who are looking for a more serious, darker read. Jacbous’s clever novel will leave readers looking forward toward her next work.

Reviewed by Janine C., Teen Board member on November 3, 2015

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light: A Novel
by Ann Jacobus

  • Publication Date: October 6, 2015
  • Genres: Social Issues, Thriller, Youth Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250064430
  • ISBN-13: 9781250064431