Themes: Romance, Sexuality, Deceit
Audience: Young Adult
Released: April 3, 2014
With her gritty realism and the originality of her storylines, Cat Clarke is fast becoming one of my go-to authors for young adult fiction, and A Kiss in the Dark certainly lived up to my expectations. Not that this proved to be an easy read. On the contrary, the deceit that runs through the entire book made for an uncomfortable reading experience at times. That said, I found the twisting narrative utterly enthralling, so that I had to keep turning the pages to find out how it all ended.
I won’t go into too much detail about the plot itself here; the last thing I want to do is spoil it for anyone. Already being a fan of Cat Clarke’s work, I picked this up after merely skimming the blurb and without checking any reviews, and I think the fact that I embarked on this novel knowing nothing about the tangled web of secrets and lies in which the protagonists become embroiled made it even more compelling than it would otherwise have been.
My favourite books tend to be those centred on characters who are inherently human, as believable as they are flawed, and Alex and Kate definitely fall into this category. I enjoyed the way the novel has been broken into two parts, one from each of their viewpoints, allowing the reader inside both Alex and Kate’s heads. We’re privy to every one of their thoughts and emotions, and this helped me understand the chain of events that led them into the impossible situations they created for themselves.
I can’t remember ever before having read a romance where the protagonists cause one another so much pain, albeit without any premeditation on either part. Yet, for all the bad decisions Alex and Kate make, and despite how much they hurt each other, I found their developing relationship immensely real and powerful. It was obvious to me that they have something special, and throughout the betrayals and recriminations, I couldn’t help hoping they would work things out.
This novel illustrates with unflinching honesty how a single untruth can escalate, spiralling out of control until it’s simpler to let the lie continue than it is to come clean and confront the consequences. It would be only too easy to judge Alex and Kate for their choices during the course of the narrative, but if there’s one thing I took away from this book, it’s that even the best of us can make mistakes, and my overwhelming feeling towards the characters was one of sympathy.
For the clever writing, some deeply flawed characters, and a story I couldn’t put down, despite its vaguely discomfiting nature, A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke gets 9/10 rainbows.
About the Book
Can love survive the ultimate betrayal? A compelling story of love and identity from a bestselling author.
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 naïve…
But one of them is hiding an unbelievable secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives…
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About Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous YA novels, two novellas for reluctant readers and a middle grade book. She was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people. Cat lives in Edinburgh with her partner, two ninja cats and two decidedly non-ninja cocker spaniels. She likes cheese A LOT, especially baked camembert.