Paperback, 384 pages.
Release date: April 3rd 2014.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant.
Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy – everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend.
Alex can’t help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive…
But one of them is hiding a secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives.
Intense and gripping, A Kiss in the Dark is another page-turning winner from Cat Clarke. Filled to the brim with love, lies, secrets and heartache, Clarke’s latest offering demands to be read in one-sitting, thanks to its timely subject matter and jaw-dropping plot twists and turns. I’ve said this before of Cat Clarke’s books, and after reading A Kiss in the Dark, my thoughts remain the same: YA doesn’t get much better than this.
Alex and Kate are virtual strangers. Actually, scratch that. Virtually these two know each other pretty well, having met on an internet forum where they’ve chatted on an off for a while. Tonight is the night that they get to meet in person. And it goes well. It goes really well. Both Alex and Kate are a little shy, a little innocent, a little unsure-footed in the ways of romance. Kate has an overprotective mother which has rendered her naïve to the ways of the world, while Alex is the sweet, sensitive type; his only concession to typical boyish behavior, a love of skateboarding. Together, Alex and Kate are a perfect fit. And soon, they are inseparable.
What follows could be a simple, sweet tale of first love; and A Kiss in the Dark is certainly a sweet love story in parts. But. This is Cat Clarke, so, you just know there’s going to be a twist in the tale. And, this twist, when it happens is not just any little old twist. Oh, no. It’s big. I’m staying far, far away from spoiler territory here, so I’ll say is, Bravo, Cat Clarke, Bravo! Now, that is how you write a twist.
A Kiss in the Dark is one of those books that’s quite difficult to review without spoiling the big reveal. 1. Because the reveal comes along very early in the story and 2. Because once you’ve read A Kiss in the Dark, you’re just going to want to talk to everyone about the twist. I will say that before reading A Kiss in the Dark I had very little knowledge of what the book was about past the ‘first love’ and ‘a big secret’ both of which are mentioned in the blurb. But Cat Clarke’s books are on my auto-read list for a number of reasons. Her books hook you immediately. And I mean immediately. I picked up both Undone and A Kiss in the Dark meaning to read just a few chapters and ended up binge-reading both all in one sitting. In the future I’ll be sure to clear a couple hours for a Cat Clarke release. Clarke also writes great characters; characters that are realistic and relatable – characters you can really identify with and root for.
Interestingly enough, though I can’t mention what it is, I saw a documentary on the very subject matter dealt with in A Kiss in the Dark a year or two ago. At the time I was left uncomfortable and intrigued in equal amounts, so make of that what you will. I will say that the documentary in question (which was based on real life A Kiss in the Dark incidents) went a lot further than Clarke does in this book. Of course, that’s entirely understandable since Clarke is working within the boundaries of YA. It also would have made for a much darker read and entirely reconstructed the motives of her character if she had ‘gone there.’
That too, would have been interesting to see.
In fact, maybe because of the heart-wrenching twist at the end of Undone, I was expecting similar here, but instead Clarke takes A Kiss in the Dark in a different direction, changing the narration late on in the book. It makes sense in a way, but for me the narration change was quite abrupt, and at that point I was very invested in the original narration. I felt the story lost a little of its momentum here. Also, at this point, I kept on expecting a killer twist right at the end. But that’s not what this book is all about. I am too fond of my killer twists at times, it’s true.
A timely tale of relationships in the age of the internet, of self-acceptance, of adversity, honesty and of love against the odds, A Kiss in the Dark kept me hooked from start to finish, and is yet another great read from Cat Clarke. I’m counting down the days to her next book already!
Tweet why you want a signed competition copy of Cat Clarke’s A Kiss in the Dark between the 31st March and 4pm on 4th April. Make sure you @Cat_Clarke & include the #AKITD to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on Friday 4th at 4:30pm. Good luck.