Published by Quercus on April 3rd 2014
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.
This will be short and sweet because of spoiler risk and my overwhelming feels…
A KISS IN THE DARK presented as a story of simple teen romance before turning my world upside down with an emotionally charged, beautiful story of love, perception, reality and heartbreak. This was my first Cat Clarke book but will not be my last!
Alex and Kate meet online, bonding over a mutual love of music they agree to meet at a gig of their favourite band. The attraction is instant, both feel for the first time that they belong, the connection they have always craved has finally manifested and for the most part this book is a story of the sweet naiveté of teen romance, those first faltering steps as barriers are broken down and risks are taken. Alex has a secret though, one that if Kate finds out could destroy the uneasy happiness both of them crave.
My heart instantly starts to pick up pace when I think back over this book, at one stage I said “this is like a car crash, I simply cannot look away” and it was the truth. From the first pages I was hooked as Clarke drew me into this world that promised raw, blisteringly real human emotion that leaked out of every page and captivated me as I fervently hoped for the happy ending I craved. The subject matter is brutal as it deals with society and its expectations, its misunderstandings and confusions and its wish to put people in neat little boxes that don’t cause offence or challenge the status quo. A KISS IN THE DARK tells the human side of what happens when people step out of the box and the destruction caused by words tossed out with little care.
I never felt so deeply for a couple as I did for Alex and Kate. The book is split into two sections, Before and After with Before told by Alex and After by Kate. Despite the basic fact that Alex deceived Kate in a heartbreaking way, I adored Alex and craved from beginning to end that life would turn out okay for both teens. The change in narration was jarring but I think necessary to get both sides of the story and the effects of the lie on both Alex and Kate. What I love about this book is how it challenges your perceptions, it makes you think, it takes a story that from the blurb appears to be a bad case of insta-love and makes you care deeply for the pair.
Clarke’s ability to provide an insight into the teen mind and give the book the raw, blunt and endearing voice it needs to make this story work is remarkable. Alex and Kate’s abilities to rationalise both the lie and its after-effects is so real and indicative of the coping mechanism we use all through our lives to escape the pain of life and put off dealing with the consequences for just a little longer.
Astonishing, gritty and emotionally destructive in the best way possible, A KISS IN THE DARK is an unforgettable and important book of love, acceptance and the lengths necessary in today’s society to grasp both.
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.