Release Date: August 20, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
“Jules and Trevor take advantage of potential suicide victims by encouraging them and profiting off their deaths. When Jules falls in love with their seventh target, she’s forced to make a series of life-or-death decisions and a single, impossible change.
Lighthouse Nights is a frightening novel about haunting regret, maniacal hatred, the longing to create, and ultimate redemption. This fast-paced story is as touching as it is twisted, and highlights a disturbing new trend among American teens.”
Dark and seductive, Lighthouse Nights by Jake Vander Ark is a gripping story of two teenagers who cross paths under one of the worst possible circumstances. Vander Ark displays his gift for the written word yet again, if not more precisely, in this novel about suicide, love, and the decisions we make.
What caught my eye right away was the writing style. Vander Ark disregards capitalization, save for moments where a character is emphasizing something being said, and manages to add even more darkness to his story. The lack of capitalization wreaks havoc on the most organized mind, causing momentary confusion and effectively draws the reader into the mindset of the characters. By not having the story written in the exact format that we, as readers, are accustomed to, Ark is challenging us to think beyond what we know and explore the troubles that teens facing depression may experience—all of this by simply alienating us from are previous conceptions of literature.
Of course, the characters, Jules, Trevor, and Gabriel, to name the important few, are all evidence of the darkness within these pages. Lighthouse Nights is a beautiful portrayal of how life can go very wrong and how decisions can affect us long after it is too late.
The format of the novel makes it a quick read—it is only 171 pages! And the style that Vander Ark portrays the different characters’ narrative is fluid and easy to follow. Despite the dark concept, there are moments where the reader feels connected to the characters, even when they are angry, sad, or happy. That’s the beauty of Vander Ark’s writing: he has a wonderful way of making you a part of the story, despite the tone and context. Also, Vander Ark’s poetic prose is hard to resist, making him a must-read.
Since this story is on the dark side, I would recommend it to those with a stronger stomach, simply because of how blatant it is about suicide. On the other hand, this novel, though knee-deep in gloominess, is a message of hope: you are not alone, there is someone waiting for you—you just have to search: sometimes s/he is right in front of you.
Read Lighthouse Nights and feel your heart swell and slowly break with the unexpected twist when the conclusion falls upon you.
I give Jake Vander Ark’s Lighthouse Nights: