A List of Cages
by Robin Roe
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.
3.5 of 5 Stars
This was the perfect book to get me over a hangover. It was an easy and yet incredibly emotional book packed with intense feelings and two amazing characters. On the very first pages I felt great amounts of empathy for Julian. I struggled with social anxiety growing up so I could relate to the situations he was forced to deal with at school. I also appreciated Adam though I couldn’t relate to him quite as much. He is full of energy and is always seemingly upbeat. There were times that this character almost seemed a little one sided due to his constant positive attitude. I appreciated how we got to know his personality more as the story progressed, though.
I’m honestly not sure what kept me glued to this book, reading until 5 am. The beginning is fairly slow but it picks up toward the middle and just continues to build steam until the end. This is obviously a standalone book but there were quite a few things I wish had gotten more backstory or closure. I wanted to know more about Russell oddly, I found him strange and somewhat mysterious. I’d have appreciated both a backstory about him as well as more about the final events in the book and how they were handled.
Overall, I really liked this book but the gaps in the story kept me from loving it. I recommend this book to those who appreciate contemporary young adult fiction. Book groups would also get a lot out of this with plenty fo discussion material. For those that are sensitive to topics like child abuse, this might not be a great choice however as there are some disturbing scenes in the story that could be triggering.
I’d like to thank Disney Book Group and Netgalley for providing me with a free galley of this book in exchange for my honest review.