Release Date: 3rd April 2014
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
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 a secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives.
Okay, so A Kiss in the Dark has pushed me into doing something I never do: write a spoiler-filled review. It would be impossible to talk about without giving things away, so count this as your warning that if you haven’t read A Kiss in the Dark, spoilers lay ahead...
With every one of Cat’s books I go in with expectations of a broken heart, a mind-blowingly good story, relatable and realistic characters and usual some disbelief/rage/desperation. A Kiss in the Dark delivered on all fronts.
The summary of the novel promises a huge revelation of a secret and those typically come out near the end of the novel, but Alex’s secret was dropped around a chapter or so in. It became the grounding of the novel. Alex is actually a girl. I had my suspicions that it may be along those lines as I had seen it on LGBT reading lists and so on. I did wonder why it wasn’t in the blurb is it was revealed so early on, however.
Alex’s unwitting deception of Kate made me nervous and I felt a major sense of doom as their relationship progressed and the lies built up. Although Alex was wrong in what she was doing, I felt like I understood why and I was sympathetic towards her. She was desperate and scared and happy and in love and she didn’t want to put that at risk; she knew exactly what the reaction would be if she told the truth. Even with the constant reminders of Alex’s attempts to hide her sex, I kept forgetting that she was a girl. Then I realised why: because in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter. They were in love and the relationship they had was sweet, endearing and so, so perfect. Love is love. Cat Clarke delivered blow after blow with this underlying thought, but without me really realising.
A Kiss in the Dark is written in an unusual format, but it really, really works. It starts with ‘Before’ and continues onto ‘After’, and with the change in timeline comes a change in narrator. I really didn’t expect to hear from Kate, but I think it was essential to the story. If Kate had done what she had (which ENRAGED me, by the way) and I was reading from Alex’s perspective, I think that anger would have blinded me throughout the rest of the novel. Instead I began to understand Kate’s decision. In a way. She was scared, desperate, hurt and betrayed. There was no thought in at first, just a way out of her feelings. It lead Cat Clarke into exploring society’s view of LGBT teens, cyber bullying and everything surrounding sexual assault.
Cat’s writing, characters, crazy-involving plots and tendency towards emotionally traumatising her readers captured my heart once again. A Kiss in the Dark is powerful, touching and eye-opening. Absolutely gorgeous.
Thanks to Quercus for the review copy.