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A Light Amongst Shadows

(Dark is the Night #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  750 ratings  ·  190 reviews
James Spencer is hardly the typical “troubled youth” who ends up at Whisperwood School for Boys. Instead of hating the strict schedules and tight oversight by staff, James blossoms, quickly making friends and indulging in his love of writing, while contemplating the merits of sneaking love poems to the elusive and aloof William Esher.

The rumours about William’s sexuality a
Paperback, 342 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  750 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Re-read October 2019

Kale Williams was a new to me narrator, but he really did a fantastic job with this book!


4.5 stars

Forget about the whole ‘ghosts can’t hurt you’ theory! These ghosts are angry, and they can kill…

James Spencer is 17 and has been sent to an all-boys school by his parents to finish school. This school is mostly for troubled or unwanted teenage boys, so everyone has a back story that’s awfully sad.

From the moment James has arrived, he
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: gay mc, bi li with depression

Review also on my blog.
ARC provided by the author.

3.5 ☆

There are three main points one has to make about A Light Amongst Shadows, when describing it: 1) it's historical fiction, 2) it's a ghost story & 3) it's gay. Now, for me personally, that was already enough to make me wanna read the book. So I'm easy to entertain, so what.

The whole things takes place at a boarding school for boys and it's a very creepy one right from the start. Which is great because this i
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

I really enjoy a good boarding school mystery and the romance was the SO SWEET and fun.
I'm not a big fan of the resolution, though, and the ending wasn't really satisfying to me (too many open questions), so that's why I took off that 1.25 stars.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This took me a bit longer to finish than usual.

The audiobook was fantastic. I would give the narrator 5 stars. This was my first time listening to an audio narrated by Kale Williams and he really did a great job.

James and William were lovely characters, but for some reason the story didn't grab me as much as I thought it would.
Kaje Harper
I really enjoyed this YA paranormal dark (but not intense) historical mystery romance, enough that I immediately bought and read the sequels.

James has been exiled to a remote residential boys' school, where a variety of teen boys with difficult histories are brought together for supervision, rehabilitation, and education. The reason for James's banishment from his family is gradually revealed, but he has a naturally resilient spirit and is determined to make the best of the situation. The schoo
Kelley York
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: mine, m-m, historical
This book means so, so much to me. I'm always sick with nerves when I send a new story out into the world, and I try not to pick favorites, but let's face it... James and William are, to date, the story I'm most proud of and the closest to my heart.

If you want to keep up on updates, behind-the-scenes info,teasers for upcoming books, and other fun stuff, come join my group on FB and hang out with us:

If you want to check out the book's playlist, fanart, and
What a unique and interesting mystery. I like the way the story unfolds, with James making friends and generally getting acclimated to his new life. The shady goings on at the school start to add up and James just can't let it go.

This is a pretty dark and scary book, and the narrator, Kale Williams does a nice job with it. There are a wide variety of characters here, and I don't think I've ever heard Kale Williams do so many different British accents before.
Trisha Harrington
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, arc, mm-ya, ghosts
I have so many thoughts about this book, so many that I could write one long ramble that wouldn't really be a review and might confuse people or give away way too many spoilers about this book. It's been a couple of weeks since I finished. I started reading one night and read a chapter or a few pages, I forget which now, and I put it down because it was late and I needed to be awake early the next morning. I thought I would be able to read a chapter or two or night or while waiting for my tutors ...more
Stephanie Lake
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I do not normally read YA, but I am so glad I took a chance with this book. I am sooo in love with both James and William.

The characters and scenery are very real and I feel I’m in the room with them. And I love them!

Kelley and Rowan weave a marvelous gothic tale with fully developed characters and scenery. I will definitely read the rest of their books.

charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
The school bells chime as they have every day before, but the sun seems a little brighter when I wake to it shining upon William’s face.

ARC kindly provided by Kelley York

Rep: gay mc, bi li with depression

Content Warnings: discussion of past CSA, drug abuse, torture, murder

I know it's only April and this is likely going to be a bold statement, but I'm going to open up this review by declaring that this is probably one of the best books I'll read all year, if not the best book. That being said
I could not stop listening to this amazing audiobook!! ❤️❤️❤️Kale Williams narrated the hell out of this spooky, lovely, and romantic YA historical set in England!!😱😱

These are NTM authors—I’m so glad I took a chance on them! I’m a huge fan of YA books. I know many others are not, but I like the fact that they truly focus on character, relationships, and plot. They don’t have sex scene after sex scene to make up word count.

Well, this was a winner with me! 👏👏❤️❤️!! It had all the makings of a gre
Feb 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, mm, ya
well, poetry is a strength. Or a weakness, depending on how you look at it.

I loved the sweet romance. And the poems. They were amazing. The plot was okay but still an enjoyable read.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I will be allowed the opportunity not just to grow back into myself, but perhaps to blossom to an even greater potential.”

special thanks to britt for recommending this book to me!

let me start this off by saying that i would die for james and william, okay? okay.

i really enjoyed this story! i especially loved the writing style, it’s very easy to get into and so much fun to devour. this was a spooky mystery with gays and it’s just brilliant. it’s also heartbreaking at times which just mad
bri ♡
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was a very solid and interesting read. I could not put this book down at all. I had to know what was really going on and what happened and how it would all end. I loved these characters and their relationships and cried a few times. james and william had my heart going soft from the moment they interacted all the way to the end. thank you kris for talking about this, I very much enjoyed it.
Me, banging pots and pans together, sobbing: I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS MORE THAN I LOVE MYSELF


You know how some people reread Harry Potter over and over again? Well, I could read this series a million times and never tire of it. I love these boys so much. ❤️


My second read of this book involved my reading the physical copy rather than the ebook and it is GORGEOUS


I recently interviewed Kelley York, 1/2 of the authors who wrote A Light Amongst Shadows, a YA historical LGBT romance w/ supernatur
Skye Kilaen
Gorgeous, emotional historical paranormal murder mystery combined with a love story between two young men at a boarding school. (I initially interpreted them as something like high school juniors, but I think it's more like they're college students, since in book 2 they've graduated and gone off to work.) James Spencer doesn't initially find the Whisperwood School for Boys that bad, aside from the creepy noises in the halls at night. James sets about making friends, and he's especially drawn to ...more
Audible Review

Overall 5 out of 5 stars
Performance 5 out of 5 stars
Story 5 out of 5 stars

So much love!
I loved this book sooo much, so imagine my complete and utter delight when Kelley York announced it, and the follow-up, A Hymn in the Silence, were going to be made into audiobooks! I could hardly stand the wait. But oh my word, was it worth it!

Man, it was hard though, listening to this and knowing what was to come, especially with a certain character. But I just loved revisiting everyone and "s
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, lgbtq
I am not crying, you are.


To put it simple i was blown away. One of the best books of 2018. Reminded me a bit of Harry Potter with a touch of Carry on and a dash of Stalking Prince Dracula. I cant tell you how much i loved this. I recommend this to everyone. Please read it =)
WOW! I cannot remember the last time I felt so many emotions while reading a book. I literally felt like I was in this book and part of every single scene. Kudos to the writers!

Like I'm not a big fan of YA, but honestly I barely even registered that the main characters were young adults here. I am so amazed that I don't know what else to say.
Sophie Gabrielle
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Be gay, do crimes and hunt ghosts whilst trying to hide your depression and horrifying trauma 🌝
Karen Wellsbury
There is an authors note at the back of this book, that for me should have been at the front, and it's about how they tried to make the language accurate and yet accessible. Fra did have to point out that this is what she thought they were trying to do about 40% of the way into the read. Personally I think it would have worked better if they hadn't mixed 19th century language with modern because the change confused me. I found it hard to gauge both how old William and James were, and also when t ...more
Keri Solaris
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

"Love is enough: though the World be a-waning." 

Phew. I finally finished A Light Amongst Shadows by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood. How long did it take me to finish, you ask? Two months. Two months... However, it has nothing to do with the book itself. Personal matters tend to get in the way of reading, I've found.

Short review just because I don't have too much to say, but A Light Amongst Shadows was pretty decent read for me. Nothing astonishing about it,
Tara♥ {MindforBooks}
I have been reading this book FOREVER!!!!

I was easily distracted when I started it and just kept putting it down and to be honest I didn't find James to be all that likable!

I picked it up again this week and ended up enjoying it very much though. It starts very slow and is probably a bit too long but the end was exciting and the epilogue sets it up for potentially being a really interesting series.

I think I would like to read A Hymn in the Silence as I feel I'd prefer William to James! *this i
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
4.5 and moving straight into the next book

A true delight and a surprise.
Perfect ghost story for this time of year, although I'd add read this whenever cause it was truly lovely.
I will not go into the story not even a bit for fear of spoilers. What I would say is the author managed to convey a gothic atmosphere and contain her world into the confines of the boys school. The story took the characteristics of a dreamlike experience and it explores dark themes indeed.
There were some inconsistencies
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
oh, wow. I did not expect that emotional rollercoaster. my heart ache a bit after reading this, but I also had a big smile on my face on the last page. some parts broke my heart but, like in all great books, it was also moments that put it back together again. I loved a lot of things about this book (the story, the writing, the twists etc), but especially the characters and the friendships. I could talk for days about how beautiful the relationships (romantic and platonic) were, but it's easer t ...more
4.5 stars.

Creepy, atmospheric, and I absolutely loved it. This is a YA book, so it’s steam level is zero, but if you wrote it off just because it’s YA I think you’d miss out on a lot. There’s a sense of suspense throughout the entire novel, and an intriguing mystery about half the way through. It’s romantic, and spooky, and I will definitely continue with the series. If you like audiobooks, you MUST hear the story as performed by Kale Williams, as he does an absolutely phenomenal job.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, lgbtqia
Actual rating: 1.25* (UPDATED OCT. 2018)

I’m thoroughly disappointed. I honestly wanted to like this book more than I did. I even made lame excuses for all the faults I found, all the way up to the last page, telling myself again and again: Don’t worry, Kyle. I’m sure it’ll get better. There has to be a reason everything feels so uncharacteristically predictable. Just wait for the end; you’ll see how wrong you were to doubt— You’ll be surprised!

Right from the get-go, though, the story threw me of
Such a unique and completely captivating tale that I absolutely adored!

It’s creepy and scary, but hopeful and sweetly romantic. I was so hooked on this story I didn’t want to put it down- I needed to find out the secrets and what was coming next. But then I’d find myself setting it aside, because as much as I wanted to know what was coming, I didn’t want it to end. James and William, and the mystery that was Whisperwood, had me under their spell.

The world building and the character development
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks, lgbt
i feel so underwhelmed lol
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Kelley resides off the coast of Northern California with her wife, teenager, a German Shepherd, a handful of cats and rats. In addition to writing, she has her A.S. in Anthropology, and is a graphic designer with a specialty in book cover design. She spends her spare time playing video games and tabletop games like the nerd she is. Her specialty is LGBT+ fiction, usually with a dark twist.

Other books in the series

Dark is the Night (3 books)
  • A Hymn in the Silence (Dark is the Night #2)
  • The Wrath of Wolves (Dark is the Night, #3)

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