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Bright Lights, Dark Nights

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  566 ratings  ·  125 reviews
“This is my spot,” Naomi said. “You can’t help but dream up here. I’m going to take my baby sis up here when she’s older so she can dream, too. You can see the whole world from up here.”

I could only see Naomi.

Walter Wilcox has never been in love. He just wants to finish high school under the radar with his 2.5 friends and zero drama. And then there’s Naomi Mills, an adorab
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Roaring Book Press
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  566 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Walter's parents are divorced, so instead of living in the "burbs", he and his police officer dad now live in the "urbs" -- a not-so-great neighborhood in an unnamed city. Walter has adapted okay since for some reason this city has a single high school attended by kids from both the burbs and the urbs, so he still sees all his same friends. Emotionally, though, he's a bit of a mess, holding a grudge against his mother. Then Walter meets Naomi, the younger sister of one of his friends, just befor
Erica Parker
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
*This is taken from my far longer and more ramblely review on my blog, which can be found at https://myliterarylifestyle.wordpress....

I’ve been curious about this book since I saw it on NetGalley – I requested a copy a because I was intrigued and dying to read it but was declined. So I went and pre-ordered it because I was just that interested.

I was stoked when I got a text from Amazon on the 11th, telling me my book had been delivered and I devoured. I basically read it anytime I wasn’t sleepi
First Second Books
I love illustrated YA novels, and Stephen Emond has put together a lovely one. Who does not love YA novels with lots of pictures as well as words?

With Emond’s cityscapes peppering the book, I kept imagining this book taking place in Brooklyn, where I live.

I also thought it was great that the parents in this book are endeavoring to be involved in their teenagers’ lives. They’re not always successful – I feel like it’s probably the extremely atypical parent who is successful at being 100% on the
4 stars

I didn't know much about Bright Lights, Dark Nights before I picked it up - aside from the fact that it had an interracial romance and gorgeous illustrations. I'm delighted to say that I found this an engaging, quick read that had both light and dark tones and some thought-provoking discussion of modern-day racial tensions.

A heavy focus of Bright Lights, Dark Nights is on a first love - between the main character, Walter, and an African American girl, Naomi. That romance is not uncomplica
The romance here and the design of the book, with the illustrations, was awesome. I loved the look at the challenges of an interracial romance, especially from the point of view of Walter.

But what really irritated me was how easy this was. There's a huge, important, timely plot point to this story that is danced around too much. (view spoiler)
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from the publisher for review.
*plenty of Black characters, but many of the males are antagonistic

According to the author’s note, Stephen Emond began writing Bright Lights, Dark Nights three years ago, so its beginnings preceded the Black Lives Matter movement and the increased attention to anti-black police brutality, but that doesn’t mean police brutality against black people wasn’t unheard of when he started writing. I remember
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
"Mutual love of the Foo Fighters" -- SOLD.

Read my full review on Forever Young Adult.
Neil (or bleed)
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
It centers on the main characters' love story but with talks of racism. RTC. ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
I don't know if it was my timing with when I decided to read this or what, but I could have done without the nerdy, lackluster white boy finding meaning in his life once he meets his (manic pixie) dream girl who "says the wrong things at the right time" and his narrative about race and racism. Everything concluded way too quickly, too neatly, and too unrealistically.

Don't get me wrong, Naomi was a cool character, and she was totally upfront with Walter about his experience being different from h
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
**Review originally posted at No BS Book Reviews. Check it out!**

4 1/2 stars

Bright Lights, Dark Nights was a breath of fresh air. It is funny, brutally honest, and faces some of our cultures toughest issues.

People are going to look at you. Everyone’s going to have an opinion. Get used to the whispers. Hashtag racist cop. Hashtag jungle fever.

BLDN introduces us to Walter, a white, slightly nerdy teenager, who lives with his father )who is a police officer) and Naomi, an African American girl
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Once again, we can start off the review with a little laughter at my expense. I looked at the cover of Bright Lights, Dark Nights, combined that with the fact that I knew it was illustrated, and made myself very excited for an interracial romance superhero book. At first I was very disappointed to realize that the superhero thing was one hundred percent in my own head, aside from some small mentions of superhero comics. Even knowing better, that cover still screams superhero book to me. Actually ...more
I'm so glad I have another book to add to my very short Eleanor & Park read-alike list! Walter, a quiet kid who loves comics & rap begins to fall for his best friend, Jason's, younger sister, Naomi, a confident harp-playing beautiful girl. Both have their own family issues to deal with – Walter still resents his mom for cheating on his dad, and he has moved with his dad, a cop, to a tougher neighborhood. Naomi is in the shadow of her older sister's mistakes, so she at once has to deal with over- ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars*

It took me a while to get through this one, but overall I liked it.

I loved the diversity of the plot and characters. (We Need Diverse Books!) I appreciated that the characters were not simply walking cliches or stereotypes.

Also, I found the book interesting because of its relevance to current events and modern issues of racism. Emond does an exceptional job of portraying how complex situations of racial profiling and police brutality are. He forces readers to look at both sides of
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
All. Kinds. Of. Win.

Even if I'm not a Foo Fighters fan, lol. More of a Nightwish fan, but hey!
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this teen novel. It's much like a fairytale, I guess...with happy beginnings and endings...Not everyone gets a fairytale, but I guess reading about one is quite the escape. ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book free through Goodreads Giveaways. This is a great YA book. It deals pretty heavily with race issues. A white guy starts a relationship with a black girl, right as his cop father gets embroiled in a scandal over his arrest of a black kid. The father feels he did his job right, but there's accusations that he's racist. The public storm affects the teenage lovers, with the parents of both thinking it's a bad time for them to be dating, and people on the Internet talking about i ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Progress Report 1. It's so exciting to finally be reading another Stephen Emond book. I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms since finishing HappyFace and Winter Town. Oh it's good to be back...!
Progress Report 2. At first I felt this book needed more art and it annoyed me. But I have realised that the story itself was enough. It would have taken away from the truth and rawness of the story. I was excited for the evening to come so I could snuggle up with this book and be swept away and le
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-book
White boy dates black girl. White boy's cop father gets involved in a racial conflict that sets the internet trolls slobbering. Very real. Very even-handed. Very timely. Illustrated. ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
This wasn't the hit I thought it would be and I'm very disappointed. ...more
Carolyn Elaine
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Walter Wilcox does not go out of his way to attract attention to himself. He happily stands on the sidelines of life. Then, Walter meets Naomi. She's beautiful, smart, and she likes Walter. Walter falls head over heels for Naomi and goes out his way to see her.

When Walter's cop dad is accused of being racist for falsely accusing a black make of robbery, Walter and Naomi's relationship is put to the test. Because Walter is white, and Naomi is black. Will Walter and Naomi's love for each other st
Although I enjoyed the previous books written by this author, I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. Of course, the cover clued me in to the fact that there'd be a romance between a white boy and a black girl set against the backdrop of some city's mean streets. And yes, the book lived up to that particular promise, but it was so much more. Aided by the images included by Stephen Emond, some exceptionally dark and others filled with tiny bits of light, and still others with much more bright ...more
Stefani Sloma
Mar 24, 2015 marked it as dnf
You can read this review and more on my blog, Caught Read Handed. NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to like this one. I really, really did. A diverse love story with super cool black and white illustrations throughout? Doesn’t that sound like a perfect book for me? I thought so too.

Walter’s never been in love, until he meets the little sister of one of his best friends and the two hit it off instantly. When Walter’s dad is ca
Rebecca Morales
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Walter tries to go through school unnoticed, but he finds himself falling for his friend's quirky sister. And when his cop father is accused of being racist and abusing his power, Walter and Naomi get thrown into the limelight.

I absolutely had to get this book when I saw it in store. As half of an interracial couple, I love reading about them. And this book did not disappoint.

I thought it was an honest look about difficulties of being in an interracial relationship. It also shed light on some of
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bright lights Dark Nights is a beautifully written (and illustrated) story about love in the real world. Walter Wilcox a poor nerdy inner city kid happens upon his first love in the most unlikely of people his best friends younger sister Naomi. At the start of their relationship problems arise because of their differences in race and personalities but they are able to power through. That is until Walter's father is accused of a racially charged crime. Will this make or break their relationship o ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was too real for me. I'm used to dragons and magic and needing to save the empire, but anyways...

I felt this book did a great job of discussing the race question. In recent years racial tension has risen across the US with the police profiling. This book takes a look at that type of situation in which I feel both black and white can feel they have been represented. While the idea of interracial couples should be passe in 2016 there still are lingering problems. Walter and Naomi struggl
This eBook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of the few books that places the reader right into the middle of racism on an everyday level. There was so much heartbreak and pain, but also so much beauty and love and appreciation for life and romance.

I also love that the male MC has a lot of the same issues I face (non confrontational to the point that it is insulting to others, lack of emotional skills, unaware of self-worth) and that the story addr
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Walter is a typical senior in high school. He and his dad moved into the city after the divorce. Mom remained in the more affluent suburbs with her boyfriend. Older sister was away at college so she had the privilege of avoiding a great deal of the family drama. However, Walter has adjusted as best he can to his new lifestyle, even if it means living in an apartment in a poor section of the city and having to cope with some bullying. Walter’s life completely changes when he meets and falls in lo ...more
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Mandy W.
Cover Story: The Heart of the City
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Too Close for Comfort
Bonus Factors: Illustrations, Music
Anti-Bonus Factor: Internet Trolls
Relationship Status: It's Not You, It's Me

Read the full book report here.
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
It was really easy to read and I liked all the topics it covered. It was definitely really relevant, and I liked the plot and how things moved along, although it probably could have been a little shorter. Plus, the art was really good and it was nice to just take a break and look at the art. The ending didn't solve everything, but I think that it's good that way.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book definitely deserves it's five stars. The author perfectly captured young love, and how love will beat all the odds. The racism was also well-written, and the portrayal of the Internet was very accurate! I definitely recommend this book. ...more
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Hello, my name is Stephen Emond, or just Steve if you prefer. There isn’t much about that me isn’t be said in this excerpt from the HAPPYFACE page on

About the Author
Steve Emond does not have any superhuman powers, neat tricks, or famous relatives, but he’s a pretty cool guy who can draw. He is the creator of Emo Boy, which ran for 12 issues and two collections, and the comic strip, Ste

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