Bullying, Child Abuse, Death, Friendship, Love, Loyalty, YA Fiction
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Synopsis: 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 a troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that 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 and 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.
I actually finished A List Of Cages a few days ago, but to be honest I was such a puddle of emotions that it took me this long to form a somewhat cohesive review. This amazing and inspirational story had me crying, raging, and even laughing at times, and I believe it is one of the most powerful YA novels I’ve ever read! It’s a book that deals with many issues: ADHD, death, foster care, multiple forms of child abuse, trauma, and bullying. Balancing these weighty topics are the positive ones of personal growth, friendship, loyalty and love. Robin Roe juggles all this in a believable and deeply personal way. Many of the topics are ones that have always been important to me, and it’s obvious that Roe is experienced with these issues. Every character in this story has their own distinct voice, but the two stars are fourteen-year-old Julian and seventeen-year-old Adam, who on the surface have nothing in common, yet once you know them you realize they share the same pure, generous and kindhearted soul. While the abuse I suffered from as a child was somewhat different than what’s inflicted upon Julian, I feel comfortable in stating the author has created an authentic representation of many children who suffer from abuse and neglect. Julian also has an unadulterated sweetness of spirit that remains unwavering despite the horrible things that are happening to him and it made me want to just dive into the book and protect him even more. And Adam—dear God! He has such a joi de vivre that remains undiminished throughout most of the story, although it is sorely tested once he discovers the secret that Julian is so desperately trying to keep hidden. His fierce loyalty and love for Julian is simply breathtaking. As you know, I read a lot of books, but this story, and Julian and Adam are so amazingly written, that they will be staying with me for a very long time. I’m going to end my review here because A List Of Cages is a book with such a powerful message that you really need to experience it for yourself. I truly believe it has the capacity to change lives and I think ALL older teens and adults should experience it. It’s not an easy read, and you should definitely have a box of tissues on hand, but I guarantee, that if you read this, you will never, EVER, forget it!
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