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, Ann Jacobus' Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.
In her debut novel, Jacobus explores difficult topics including depression, alcoholism, death, and the reckless behavior that can accompany them. Summer Barnes is obsessed with death, reading up on near-death experiences and watching burial ceremonies online. Her father died of alcohol-related causes, she has been kicked out of four schools, and now she is living in Paris with her mother, trying to finish high school. She's desperate to find a reason to keep on living and thinks that falling in love might help. Enter Moony, a hopeful boy recovering from a near-death accident, and Kurt, a mysterious man who pulls Summer further into her dark place. Summer can be bright-eyed and hopeful, her thoughts and dialogue funny, at times, despite the stubborn curtain of despair that hangs over her every move. As Summer struggles with alcohol dependency and contemplates suicide, readers will grit their teeth in the hope that Moony will win the romantic tug-of-war with Kurt in time to help Summer see the light at the end of the tunnel. Ages 14 up.