Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Kiss in the Dark ~ Gina Ciocca (earc) review [@gmc511 @simonteen @simonkids]

A Kiss in the Dark
Simon Pulse
March 06, 2018
341 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.

Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.

Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.

But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.
While reading A Kiss in the Dark, I couldn't help picturing it with the cover of Gina Ciocca's novel published in January, Busted.
Last year Macy Atwood was a cheerleader, with best friend Meredith. Now, for her senior year, she and Jadie are yearbook photographer. So much about Macy's life has changed in just one year - but what it was that caused all those changes is what you, the reader, have to discover.

The way that Ciocca split the story between Macy's Junior Year and Senior Year, with each happening in the run up to Homecoming was great. We get to see a lot of the repercussions - the strained relationships, the emotional fallout, the lingering questions - of what happened around Homecoming last year, before we experience it in the Junior Year half of the book.

While some of the larger elements of the story - who the characters were to each other, how they felt about each other - were easy to see long before the characters acknowledged and/or realized them, it worked. It was very lifelike that Macy was unable to see what, to an outsider seemed to be, right in front of her. (You also can't guess at the details or how things will play out.)

I loved the different relationships author Gina Ciocca presented to readers. There were different kinds of friendships, different romantic relationships, different parent/child relationships that were all interwoven and played into the story really well.

A kiss in the Dark was sweet and cute but the characters faced uncertainty, difficult decisions, and possibly ruined friendships, as well. The things that weren't easy for the characters made the story that much more real and enjoyable to read.  After Last Year's Mistake and now A Kiss in the Dark, I hope we get more novels from this author that split the story between 'then' and 'now'  - it's great storytelling with true to life characters, emotions and relationships.

review copy received from publisher via NetGalley

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