Monday, September 28, 2015

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus
Release Date - Oct 6, 2015
Publisher Website - St Martin's Griffin/Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 the right 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 manage 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 was unsure of what to expect when picking up Romancing The Dark In The City Of Light. The synopsis hinted at either a dark contemporary or something laced with a paranormal twist. This novel, like it's synopsis, is not easily defined and is actually a mix of different things. It is a dark contemporary, there is also a subtle paranormal element at play, against a backdrop of a more gritty Paris than typically found.

This is a novel that examines darkness. The darkness of addiction, depression, and suicide. It's a novel that would be a fantastic tool to begin discussions and would be effective as a jumping point for further education.

Ann Jacobus gives shape to the intangible qualities of depression, suicide and addiction. We especially see this with Kurt. He is these issues brought to life in a way that is highly symbolic and jarring. It brings forth, with crystal clarity the struggle someone suffering with these crippling issues, and how hard it is to recover from them. You see how hard it's grip can be, and how it's something that will always be part of you, even in the good times. It showcases why it's so important to get help, and constantly reach out to those who can help, and how vital a support system can be. Kurt gives a face to all of these faceless struggles, and its one of the elements that was superbly done in this novel.

My main issue was the lack of connection to any of the characters. This is the type of story where that connection is vital because you're experiencing the characters make these mistakes, and seeing them make progress only to backslide. The connection would have created an investment in the outcome, and would have ensured you were rooting for the characters to overcome the demons that are haunting them. This would have been more effective as a first person narrative as I felt I was kept at a distance from the story.

A novel that examines depression, alcoholism, self harm, and more in a unique but insightful light. The message of the novel is an important one, and something that reflects strongly in the novel. As a tool for communication it is incredibly effective, however the story itself didn't come together the way I hoped it would and the connection to the characters just never happened for me.

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