Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

288p. ebook available. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Oct. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250064431.
Gr 9 Up—Summer Barnes has moved to Paris to be near her mother and repeat her senior year of high school. The Paris American International School is the fifth school she has attended in four years. Summer has to acclimate to a new environment while she struggles with her father's death, her mother's absenteeism, and her own alcoholism. She hopes to graduate high school and college by age 22 in order to inherit her grandfather's fortune. After Summer enrolls in school, Moony and Kurt fall for her. Moony is a likable senior who tries to keep Summer out of trouble. Kurt is mysterious and encourages her demons. But there is more to Kurt than meets the eye. He seems to follow Summer and anticipate her needs. Although Summer knows Moony is the right choice, Kurt seems to have a destructive influence over her. Dealing with her problems and being caught between two such different guys, she begins to wonder if her difficult life is even worth living. In this realistic fiction title, Jacobus has created three strong characters. Summer and Moony are believable, flawed, and well-crafted teen protagonists. They each have their own complications and struggles. Many young adults will be able to relate to one or both of these characters. Savvy readers may pick up on clues along the way, making the ending less surprising.
VERDICT The short chapters will appeal to reluctant readers, and the seamless pacing makes this book hard to put down.

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