A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Publication: January 10th, 2017
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: e-ARC, 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction
Read: January 2017
Robin Roe — Goodreads
I received an e-ARC of this book from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.
Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.
Trigger warning for graphic depictions of mental, physical and emotional abuse.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book is absolutely and totally heart wrenching and heart breaking. Don’t go into this expecting a light contemporary because you’ll be shocked. This book is extremely powerful and poignant and might even make you cry if you’re affected by the themes discussed in it. It deals with abuse, family, friendship, trauma, grief and foster care. Both boys have different kinds of neurodiversity: dyslexia for Julian and ADHD for Adam. As I have neither, I can’t say if they are accurate representations but Adam reminded me a lot of my brother who does have ADHD. The only critique that I can really give is that I think the ending was rushed, there wasn’t enough resolutions and there were a few things left up in the air.
Writing Style – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed the writing style a lot. It was very distinct between the two main characters, their voices were very individual and unique to the other. It’s really fast paced and engaging. I managed to read the book much quicker than I thought, the second have I read it in one sitting which made it a very fast read. There’s a lot of graphic descriptions, it’s powerful and intense and totally kept me glued to the pages.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
The cast of characters in this book, specially the main characters, won me over and made me fall in love with them. They are so real and tangible and amazing. I find myself at a loss for words to describe how these characters made me feel. Julian broke my heart into a million pieces. He’s officially one of my cinnamon rolls because I just wanted to gather him into my arms and cuddle him. (Also, how weird is it that I know see 14 year olds as young enough to be cuddled, who am I?). He’s so quiet and lonely. He’s sad and depressed and lonely but doesn’t really know that he is. He feels that that is the way he’s supposed to be. His narrative is powerful in an emotional stand point and almost made me cry a few times. He’s scared but doesn’t really feel like he can talk to anyone because of the environment he’s in and school most definitely does not help because high school sucks and most people judge him. Adam on the other hand is the epitome of good. He’s such a kind and sweet, not only to Julian but to all the people around him. He actually reminded me a lot of myself and how I tend to be/act the way that someone needs me to, but Adam doesn’t have any negative connotations with that, that’s just how he is. He’s open and honest and gets really conflicted about Julian and his situation and what he should do. I really liked him and I liked his hyperactive yet empathetic personality and how close he was with his group of friends. My only problem where the characters are concerned is that I felt that some of the side characters weren’t developed enough. Adam has a very big group of friends but we only see a few closer up and only one I felt that we got to know as an individual. Also, Adam’s Mom, whom I felt should have had a bigger role in some of the later scenes, wasn’t around a lot of the time though it didn’t feel like she was the typical neglectful YA parent, that was a bit disappointing.
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