Blog Tour: Romancing the Dark in the City of Lights

Author: Ann Jacobus
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

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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 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. 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.


1. I love that the setting of this book is Paris. Why did you decide to make Paris the setting of your book?

Me, too! My family and I lived in Paris for many years. It’s the setting for so many stories and films and is truly a spectacular and romantic city. Everyone seems to agree on this point and I thought I’d be crazy to not set a story there since I know it fairly well. But I wanted to explore it from the vantage point of a depressed and suicidal teen who is not happy to be there--how it might look through her eyes. To be surrounded by all that beauty, history and culture and to be blind to it is a good indication of Summer’s depressed state of mind. The city also has creepy and dodgy areas of course, like anywhere, and it was fun to use some of those.

2. Have you been to Paris? What are your favorite things to do in Paris?

My husband and I lived, worked and raised our family there for a decade. My favorite things to do in Paris include browsing books at the American Library in the 7th arrondissement, or at the W.H Smith Bookstore on rue Rivoli; visiting some of the smaller excellent museums such as the Musée Nissim de Camondo or the Palais de Tokyo; tea and macarons at Ladurée; Moroccan food anywhere; crepes in Montmartre or the Latin Quarter; Willi’s Wine Bar in the 1st; poking around at Les Puces (the giant flea markets in the northern part of the city); and my all-time favorite, strolling through Père Lachaise cemetery. Finally, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are always rewarding. To name but a few.

3. Where did you get the inspiration to write this novel?

The  germ of the idea for this novel came about on a winter afternoon many years ago. I was with my young daughter in the crowded Métro and our train stopped short of the end of the platform because someone ended up on the tracks. We got out of there in a hurry and didn’t know if the person had fallen, been pushed or jumped. I couldn’t find any information about it afterwards and had to assume the latter. The questions of who it was and how they had ended up there haunted me. I finally started writing about it almost four years later.

4. Which book would you recommend to people who enjoy your novel?

For a lighter romance set in Paris, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is great fun. For a novel that deals deftly and compassionately with suicidal characters Jennifer Niven’s recent All the Bright Places is beautiful.

5. What messages do you hope people take away from your novel?

This story is fiction, and is meant to entertain, but I’ll be content if it makes readers think as well—about someone, a young person especially, who might be struggling with depression and suicidality (the term for feeling suicidal). 

I’d be thrilled if more discussion on the subject comes about. It’s way more widespread than we’d like to think. So much stigma still surrounds suicide and it’s up to us to change that. We have to be willing to talk about it.

Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lived with her family for many years in the Arabian Gulf and in Paris, France. She now lives in San Francisco where she writes, reads, volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line, and frequently resorts to crock-pot meals of canned soup, fowl and whatever's in the fridge.
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Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. I just read this one and thought it as interesting. There were parts that were confusing, but I ended up enjoying it. I have been to Paris a couple of times (the first was on my honeymoon) and I loved her list of favorite stuff to do in Paris. I need to do some of those things next time we go!

  2. ohmy, her inspiration @__@
    I read the blurb and I wasn't fully sure if I should read this or not but reading that she recommends All the Bright Places makes me want to give it a go. And it could also be thought-provoking? Yes, please! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

  3. I have been to Paris multiple times, because one of my older sisters is currently living there! Right before I went I read Anna and the French Kiss and it was magical makings for the trip later on. I love reading books set in certain places when I travel there so maybe I will read this one before I next go visit. I am not sure about that love triangle, but I think I will survive ^.^

  4. I loved that Jacobus explored the darker parts of Paris in this book. I've never been to Paris (and I'll probably never get there), but it was so refreshing to see a different side of the city. I feel like too many people talk about the more well-known sites, and seeing all the underground stuff just made the book stand out for me.

  5. This book sounds amazing! I also enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss and All the Bright Places (oh boy. fav book right there)! I've been in love with Paris for a while despite never having been there... so realistically I know very little about it than the facts from French class or from pictures/movies/etc. Anyway, I hope to read this soon! Great post!


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