Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Read:  November 9th - 10th, 2016

Type:  Kindle (ARC)

Source:  I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating (out of five):

Where to find the author: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Where to find this book: Goodreads | Amazon

From Goodreads:  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. 

Julian, a friendless Freshman, who is abused at home and has no self-confidence at all, is befriended by Adam, a gregarious and friendly Senior.  What follows is a heartbreaking, yet ultimately heartwarming, story that I think everyone should read.

To be honest, I hadn't heard of this book before I received an email from NetGalley saying I had been pre-approved to read it.  I read the blurb and it sounded intriguing enough that I sent it to my Kindle immediately.  I still wasn't sure when I would read it (I have a lot of books on my TBR list), but at least it would be there when I was ready.  The very next day, I couldn't decide what to read, so I decided to browse the titles on my Kindle until something jumped out at me (surely I'm not the only one who does this?).  A List of Cages caught my eye, and I started reading it to see if it was any good.  I am so glad I did.

It's been a while since I've read such a heart-wrenching story.  I read it in just a couple of sittings, because I just couldn't put it down, which also hasn't happened in a while.  I just had to know how things would work out.  I felt like I knew the characters, and wanted only the best for Adam and, especially, Julian.

A List of Cages is such a well-crafted book.  It's dramatic, emotional, and, unfortunately, realistic.  The story was intriguing from the start, and was written so beautifully.  The main characters are well-developed and endearing.

My heart broke for Julian, and it is still breaking knowing there are actually children in the world who endure the same abuse.  It's not just a story, it's an eye-opening commentary on child abuse, and how it can be hidden.  It's not just about the physical effects, but the mental effects, as well.

I couldn't stop thinking about Adam and Julian after I finished the book (still can't, actually, and it's been a couple of months), and I find myself randomly wondering how they're doing, until I realize they're just characters in a book.  But that just shows how much the story stuck with me.

Another thing I loved about this book is that it focuses on the platonic love of two boys, and not on a romance.  There is a romantic relationship in the story, but it's realistic, and never overshadows the main story.  It was refreshing to read a YA book without insta-love or a love-octagon.

I would highly recommend A List of Cages.  It made my Top 10 list for 2016, and it was definitely one of my favorite books last year.

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