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Vivaldi in the Dark (Vivaldi in the Dark #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Out-and-regretting-it comprehensive attendee Jayden Phillips turns his cast-iron plans for life upside-down by falling in love with private-school violinist Darren Peace, a sardonic boy with the craziest hair Jayden's ever seen.

But all is not what it seems, and Jayden's bullying problem becomes meaningless when he is confronted with what the music does to Darren. How do yo
Paperback, 294 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Queerteen Press (first published December 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter
4 sensitive stars.****Review completed February 13, 2014

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Matthew J. Metzger had me at…

The baton came down, the bows came up, and the storm ended. The silence was as ringing as the strings, and rolled in like an angry tide to reclaim the stage, flooding over the orchestra until the very last memory of the tempest in Vivaldi's Summer had been washed away.

As I see it, this excellent intro sums up the entire book. Vivaldi in the Dark deals with some heavy subject matter. Undertones are interrupted by


This is a great YA book. I love this genre, I'm not going to lie.

We have two boys. Jayden is middle class and bullied at school but with a lovable family. Darren is filthy rich whose parents don't give him much of an attention.

Bullying. Depression.

It's very hard to hide bullying. It's harder to make it stop. If you have problems in one school sometimes the best way to avoid that is to change school. I understood Jayden's desire to flee and be accepted at the private one, not only because of the
Feb 21, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Isabel
BR HERE with Isabel, Shakisha, Dorota and Tainted Skyee

Amazing, enrapture writing, toe-curling, life-affirming, stomach butterflies, and every kind of wonderful, is what Vivaldi in the Dark brings us!

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The story exquisitely written of Jayden Phillips and Darren T. Peace, deals with teenage issues and problems
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Is an honest story about subjects that might make some people hide, cover, and ignore…
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But it’s not a weakness, is an illness and that it's not as hopeless as it seems, there is alwa
I marked this book "to read" as soon as I read the title! I love violin music and I love its sound, and though I don't have any gift for playing violin, I love to hear it! So the title captivated me right away!

But this book is not about the joy of playing violin or hear its music, actually it's about the opposite! It's about how the pressure for perfection and the pressure to please someone, drove a young man to depression. This book is about how this young man, Darren, found the beautiful and
Aug 25, 2016 MishyJo rated it it was amazing
Although this book was about two 16 year old MCs, it didn't really feel like a YA book to me. Yes, there were the normal YA elements, coming out, bullying, a first kiss. But it was also about clinical depression and having no one to turn to and no way to ask for help. It was about parents who don't see their children as anything more than a means to improve their social status and the difficulties of growing up as a trophy child (not a term the author used, but it applies). These issues were ...more
Kaje Harper
Jan 28, 2014 Kaje Harper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, m-m, ya
This is one of my favorite Young Adult M/M stories in the last year. Vivaldi in the Dark has two main character teen POV voices that feel authentic, a dash of humor, and an intensity that isn't melodramatic angst. The British idioms and language are an added bonus, giving consistent flavor to the story.

Jayden is gay, and although he's only actually out to his best friend, he gets teased and bullied enough at school for seeming gay that he's keeping his head down. He plans to transfer to a better
Feb 21, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Dean, Tate, Dan, Ty & Hunter

Vivaldi in the Dark moved, breathed, and felt like a piece of music to me. The natural rhythm and music of life with all its pressures, dreams, joys, and love came together to tell a story with pure, sweet, honest heart. Words and emotions warmed, flowed, soared, dipped, shivered, and swooned! My heart fell right in step with this story—laughing, smiling, blushing and breaking.

Darren Peace and Jayden Phillips are two strong, smart, determined young men each with aspirations, problems, sadness, a
Dec 29, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing
Why do I like YA? Well, it makes me remember that very first kiss, that sense of trepidation with your first real love, the emotional turmoil of being sixteen again. This book brings all those feelings together in one wonderful story.

Jayden is sixteen and is out at school. Due to this the ensuing bullying that he encounters is really quite horrible, but real. Teenagers can be so cruel to each other at times. After school he goes to meet his mum at the local theatre to get a lift home as she is i
Aug 09, 2016 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tina by: Mark

YA is not exactly my genre but the premise and the review of my friend Mark persuaded me to give this one a try.

Vivaldi in the Dark is about 16 years old Jayden, out and bullied in school, and same-aged Darren, a depressive kid and a gifted violin player. Jayden wants nothing more than to help Darren to overcome his depressions, but he quickly learns that of all things Darren’s violin is the connection to his dark side. Jayden is determined to help Darren out of his darkness.
"I know it’s not th
MareTara SLiTsReaD Reviews
BR With Mishyjo, even though I sucked as a BR partner ;)

4 PG stars

So here's the thing.

Usually YA books are just too "young" for me.


This book brought me home, kinda.

I'm Livvy. 19 and having a baby.
With no father in the picture.
I meet this man, who takes me and my boy on, and insists that he calls him dad.
Takes him to football games, watches sports, gives advice.

I'm Livvy.

You wouldn't get it unless you read the story. But I felt like in reality it could be my world.

And wh
Vivaldi in the Dark doesn't disappoint. There’s bullying, difficult parents and young, troubled MCs, so with all that, you’re quickly pulled into the world of Brits Jayden and Darren.

The book alternates between Jayden and Darren’s POV, and the author pulls the transitions off seamlessly. I was never confused about which character was talking, and I SO appreciated that!

Jayden is gay and reluctantly out at his public school, but he’s horrifically and regularly bullied. He’s itching to move up and
Vivaldi in the dark is a book that deals with heavy issues - depression, self-harm, bullying and neglecting parents, shown through the love story of two boys – Jayden (16) and Darren (15).

The story is portrayed very realistically; all events and dialogues are just as they should be experienced by two teenagers. There is drama, yes, but nothing excessive and no artificial angst.

The descriptions of the depression that Darren suffers in both its mental and physical effects, Darren’s bad days and Ja
May 24, 2016 Tess rated it really liked it
4.25 stars

Another lovely YA romance from this author.
Feb 19, 2014 Shakisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. Even better reading with friends.

Review to come shortly.
Feb 14, 2014 Vallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was a beautiful, sweet book. Young love, fresh love, passionate love, innocent love, filled with the naivete of youth. I was in love with Darren from the first time I "met" him. His badass, I don't need anyone act had me turning the pages on my nook without a break, waiting for the moment when his vulnerable side is revealed. And it did. It did so elegantly, without contrived, over-the-top drama. Darren was a tortured soul and his suffering poured through the pages. He was...real. I wanted
Anyta Sunday
Jun 28, 2014 Anyta Sunday rated it really liked it
Lovely language and imagery.

Darren's confidence (for the most part) made him a really attractive character, and I enjoyed reading his scenes and lines!

Perhaps the conflict could have been threaded through earlier to string the tension more, but still, highly enjoyable. :)

Only one little . . . snag for me (view spoiler)

Watch out for this author--he's got something special going for him. I l
Jan 30, 2016 Bev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes quality writing.

A fabulous read, realistic, thoroughly British and dealing sympathetically with the serious issues of teenage depression, bullying and parents who couldn't give a toss. Met the author at the UK GRL meet, and bought this very book from's sooo worth it!! 5 stars is all I can give unfortunately.
Aimee ~is busy sleeping~
Apr 22, 2014 Aimee ~is busy sleeping~ rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, favorites, funny
Why I read YA.

I've been avoiding writing a review for this, because sometimes I just have a hard time finding the right words to express my thoughts. And also because Kaje Harper's review already pretty much already expresses everything I felt perfectly. So check hers out (if it's not on here, on GR).

For now, I'll just say that I agree with her that this book has one of the most realistic depiction of depression, particularly among teens, that I've come across. Unlike what a lot of books that
Jan 21, 2014 Ari rated it really liked it

Darren Peace

Jayden Phillip

yeah.. I know... ^,,^

Actually, this story follows any other YA formula; cute-sweet-fluffy young love, then something bad happens, recovery, ended with the promise of bright and happy future. Judging from the blurb and the title, I was prepared for dark and angst story, but up till 75% of the story, I was overwhelmed by their cuteness! My favorite part about YA is it makes me remember the feeling of that very first kiss, exploring each other, even the feeling of the
This is the second book I have read by this author and enjoyed - I may have to become a stalker. I see there are 2 more books in the series so will have to read on.
Liked the realistic setting and teenage angst and banter. Darren's parents were a*holes but unfortunately are replicated too often in reality.

4.5 stars, not quite 5
Elisa Rolle
Dec 06, 2015 Elisa Rolle rated it it was amazing
2014 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)
Lena Grey
Jul 20, 2016 Lena Grey rated it it was amazing
The teenage years are, at best, a whirlwind, roller coaster time of life. Everything is moving so fast; there are so many decisions to be made, that it sometimes seems impossible to be able to keep up. Yet, teens are expected to make them long before they have the sense of self necessary to know what they want; therefore, they are often poured in a mold into which they do not fit creating even more conflict and possibly sense of failure than there needs to be. Jayden, of 'Vivaldi in the Dark' by ...more
Kelsey's Korner Blog
Jun 05, 2014 Kelsey's Korner Blog rated it really liked it
I'm not really a YA genre lover so this was a challenge for me to read. I took on the challenge easily because the author had been recommended to me from different and reliable sources. I started off with Vivaldi In The Dark where the story begins with two fifteen year old boys dealing with the realisation they were gay. Dealing with puberty, homophobia, parental issues, bullying and depression. The series was very different to what I would normally choose to read but I found it quite intriguing ...more
Kate McMurray
May 09, 2014 Kate McMurray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, ya
This book had me at Vivaldi—and clearly I love Vivaldi way more than Darren does!—but turned out to be such a treat. Where it particularly succeeds is in the portrayal of Darren's depression. The descriptions of how he feels are vivid and evocative. Jayden is a good antidote, both for Darren and for the reader; I think if Jayden and his parents had not been portrayed so positively, the book would have sank, but instead, Jayden supplies a lightness that makes the book feel balanced even in its ...more
Aug 20, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t1
Vivaldi in the Dark is a beautifully written book with wonderful descriptions and imagery, despite the bleakness of some of the scenes. The characters are well drawn; Jayden and Darren are unique and quite different from each other and I enjoyed reading about them, but especially when they were together. They really worked – even when everything else was wrong – there was something special about those two together. The secondary characters were also terrific, especially Darren’s pals Ethan and ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, own-kobo-yhoo, series
4.5 stars

Jayden is a teen at a comprehensive school, he wants to win a scholarship for his final year before uni so he can do well on his exams and get into Cambridge. He wants to be a writer and has written plays for the local theater. At that theater he meets Darren, a talented violin player. They're drawn to each other, Darren's brashness and ability to fight comes in handy fending off the bullies who torment Jayden. But Darren suffers from depression and he fears Jayden won't be able to hand
Tara Spears
Oct 18, 2014 Tara Spears rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up for one reason...the depression was realistic, the explanation was very true.

This is a very slow moving book and honestly, I was going to DNF it around Chapter Ten. Then Chapter Eleven came about, and just that one chapter had me holding on through the end of the book.

The story is a sweet one.

I had problems with some of the prose, the misuse of ellipses' and emdashes (which made sentences make no sense at all) and the editing errors which left words where they shouldn't have
Mummy's Naughty Corner
May 19, 2014 Mummy's Naughty Corner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, romance, kindle, own
Cover :- 3 stars
Sex/steaminess :- N/A read so very little sex
Story line :- 5 stars
Characters :- 5 stars
Overall rating :-4.333 stars

Personal rating :- 5 stars

Book Pairing:- M/M
Did it give me a book hangover :- Almost
Is this a review book or personal read :- M/M

Why I chose this book?

I was asked to join the tour for the third book so I'm reading the first 2 to get caught up on the story.

What I liked about this book.

* Powerful and moving
* Addresses many issues.
* Gripping from the start

What I didn't
Jul 15, 2016 Esteban rated it liked it
This is my first LGBTI young adult book read in a long time. I'm happy that I have found it. It was simple, emotional and very teenager... jajaja. I stoped reading this kind of book because I found them repetitive and very dramatic. This book is not different for others of the gendre but it was a nice book, although a little dark.

I am interested to see what will happen with Darren depression in the next one.
May 29, 2014 Lea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whew, that was intense. One of the most startlingly real depictions of depression I've ever encountered. But it was also one of the funniest and sweetest stories too. Absolutely brilliant all around.
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YA LGBT Books: Matthew J. Metzger 17 47 Mar 02, 2014 08:25AM  
Buddy Read of Vivaldi in the Dark - 17.02.2014 Please feel free to join us! 48 28 Feb 20, 2014 03:08PM  
  • Memorizing You
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Matthew is an asexual, transgender author from the wet and windy British Isles. He is currently lurking in the Bristol area, but has lived all over, and has a special fondness for Yorkshire.

Matt writes LGBT novels, both adult and young adult, and particularly enjoys digging into the weird and wonderful diversity of people all across the sexuality and gender spectrums. When not writing, Matt is usu
More about Matthew J. Metzger...

Other Books in the Series

Vivaldi in the Dark (4 books)
  • The Devil's Trill Sonata (Vivaldi in the Dark #2)
  • Rhapsody on a Theme (Vivaldi in the Dark #3)
  • Vivaldi in the Dark Box Set

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“Jayden’s brain stalled. He just called you fit! the voice shrieked. It was beside itself. He just called you fit! That settles it, he’s gay, gay as a christening robe, now get your head out of the sink and kiss him! “Um,” he said instead. “You get brain freeze under there?” 1 likes
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