Thursday, October 1, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

I received the ARC for Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date is October 6, 2015.

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. 


This book was a complete surprise. After the first chapter or two, I swear I thought this was going to be a one star book. Summer moves to Paris after being kicked out of four different boarding schools. This one is her last chance. She is a senior and for some crazy reason, she has to graduate from high school AND college by the time she is twenty-two or she forfeits her very large inheritance. Yeah, that codicil to her grandfather's will was a weird subplot that honestly never went anywhere and I didn't even understand it. I guess I can understand the graduating from college part, but why the age restriction? That was never explained. And for some reason, if Summer lost her inheritance, it didn't even go to her mother. It would go to some charity. Weird. Summer is as focused on school and graduating in THREE months as she is on getting a boyfriend. This was one of the reasons I kind of hated this book at first. How on earth is she supposed to focus on school if she is trying to get a boyfriend? And why wasn't she focused on making friends? I get that she was lonely. I could feel how sad she was. But she was ONLY focused on landing a guy. I do think that friendship is what this book was missing. Summer's mom was not really there (emotionally or physically) and she kept making stupid decisions. She needed a supportive girlfriend, in my opinion.

Now for the guys: Moony and Kurt. I really liked Moony. He was very sweet and kind and understanding with Summer. I loved that he was there for her through everything. I rolled my eyes at them confessing their love after knowing each other for such a short period of time, but I got over it (kind of). And Kurt . . . well, I HATED that guy. He was rude and controlling and I had no clue what his deal was. Even now, I am still kind of confused about who he was supposed to be. I won't give anything away, but there was a bit of a paranormal element to it. Kurt was also one of those very stupid decisions Summer made. He kept abandoning her and he never, ever told her anything about himself. Red flag, much. She didn't know his last name or where he lived or his age. Yet, he knew everything about her. The fact that she didn't know all this information started to make sense towards the end of the book. But basically Moony was this light and positive influence in her life, while Kurt was a dark and twisted one. 

Now the part that I really liked in this book: Summer's mental health issues. This is the main reason why I kept reading the book and why I increased the rating after a bit (well, that and the mystery of Kurt). Part of the reason why this book snuck up on me a bit was because the author took a but (maybe too long) to let the reader know just how low Summer was feeling. It was kind of subtle at first. Summer has a flask that she takes everywhere. At first, I didn't think much of it because sometimes teenagers do experiment with alcohol. But this went beyond experimentation. She needed vodka to get through the day and to focus (excuses, excuses). Gradually, she stopped focusing on homework and tests because she was hungover all the time. She skipped classes and bailed on commitments. In short, she was a mess. Moony tried to make her go to an AA meeting, but she didn't think she had a problem. And it became evident that Summer was very, very depressed. At first, I thought she had to be depressed because of something specific and I was mad at her. I didn't think she had anything to be depressed about. But I know that isn't how depression works. I get it because I have been there. The author did such a great job of showing Summer's downward spiral and her suicidal thoughts. The progression was so gradual that you could almost not realize it was happening if you knew Summer in real life. And man, there was so much character development in this book. The Summer at the end of the book was so different from the Summer at the beginning. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. The bottom line is that even though there were a few pacing issues and I didn't really get Kurt, I ended up enjoying this book.

8 comments :

  1. I put this on my list too. Even with the issues you mention, I'm still intrigued. I haven't heard this story before...

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    1. Thanks Ramona. I do hope you enjoy it.

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  2. This sounds like a really different/interesting story even if it had issues. I love a book that makes you keep reading to find out somethin ( who the guys is or whatever). Great review!

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    1. Thanks Grace! It was interesting for sure. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.

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  3. Blech. Why so desperate for a boyfriend? I don't know how I could've continued, to be honest. Lol.

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    1. Joy, haha. Believe me, if it were not for the fact that it was an ARC, I may have just stopped there. But I feel like I needed to give it just a little but more of a chance. It was interesting.

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  4. I had mixed feelings about this one too. I liked it, but it was a bit strange ... Glad you enjoyed it overall.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Thanks Nicole. Yeah, it was just weird. It was interesting, but I am glad I got it for free. I would not have wanted to spend money on it.

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