Bright Lights, Dark Nights is a modern tale of first love between star-crossed teen lovers; Walter, the comic book nerd, who loves the Wu-Tang Clan and film noir and Naomi, the athlete, who just so happens to be the sister of Walter’s best friend.
Their interracial romance comes easily until the decision is made to make their relationship public knowledge. Both teens are strongly discouraged from continuing their relationship by their families and some friends. The book also tackles the issue of police brutality and what can happen when people on the Internet act as judge, jury, and executioner. Walter’s father, a police officer, is accused of assaulting a black teen to solve an open case. As Walter and Naomi’s love blooms, their neighborhood becomes increasingly divided across racial lines. Emond’s use of comic-style illustrations throughout the novel draws the reader deeper into the story and additionally serves as a secondary, “all-knowing” character. Both oppressive and hopeful, the city itself becomes a living, breathing entity that is deeply intertwined with Walter and Naomi’s budding romance. This novel is a great read if you're a fan of realistic comporary fiction with a side of currrent issues relating to social justice.