*no spoilers included*
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.
I have often mentioned my disinterest of YA contemporary books. I prefer the fantasy side of it more. But sometimes a blurb will get my attention and it becomes nearly impossible to resist reading the book. A List of Cages by Robin Roe is one such book. I stumbled upon it on Goodreads and then was lucky enough to get an ARC in exchange of my honest opinion.
A List of Cages revolves around two boys, Adam and Julian, who lived together for a little while after Julian’s parents passed away and Adam’s mother took him in. When Adam is assigned by the school psychologist to bring Julian in for his mandatory sessions he is happy to reconnect with him but there are things about Julian that confuses him. Adam being older than Julian remembers him as a totally different, very cheerful person, than what he has become now which is very reserved and shy. Ignoring this, Adam’s friendly and persistent personality helps him become friends with Julian again. Soon he starts noticing strange things about Julian like how small his clothes are on him, how he never has any money, and how stepping into Julian’s uncle’s house where he lives is a big no-no.
The book is written from two POVs; Julian and Adam’s. It talks about issues that are present in our world but are seldom talked about. I wouldn’t want to name it because I want you guys to find it out on your own like I did. I was going crazy with all my theories and I want you guys to experience the same. Also, if you are someone like me, even a single word would be considered a spoiler and we are talking about the theme here so I will stay shush on this.
I liked the writing style. It was very to the point and yet entertaining. While reading the first ten pages I wasn’t sure I was into this book but it grabbed my attention soon after and I found it very hard to put down. It was written in a light-hearted manner but spoke about situations that would bring intense pain to your heart just reading about it and then to think these things do happen all over the world and yet never talked about. I also liked how the book spoke about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I don’t know anyone with ADHD but the representation made me feel like I knew Adam as a real person.
Adam and Julian were beautiful characters. Adam’s fidgety behavior and wanting to do good for everyone was so refreshing to read about. But Julian’s character broke my heart into a gazillion pieces. Everything he went through after his parents died, right from the moment he was informed of it to the very end, made me want to rip him out of the pages and keep him safe with me. My heart ached for him from his first lunch time to his very last avoiding-the-crowd act.
The other characters in the story. Adam’s friends were such amazing people to read about. I feel like this book depicted high school in a very real and rational way. There was no over the top gooey till-death-do-us apart lovers, or crazy friendships. These were genuine people with genuine friendships who would always have their back and love stories that come as ordinary as there can be. I loved Charlie who is Adam’s best friend. I also liked Emerald. The whole friends’ gang was great really. I loved Adam’s mother. She was such a protective force like any of ours mother are and I found her concern for Julian relatable.
The best thing about this book is that the love story and side characters did not take all the focus away from the main story but they were visible enough to leave an impression on you.
I won’t say A List of Cages is a relatable book for all but I would say this book will really have an impact on you and make you think long after you have closed it.
Would I recommend it to you? Yes. A 100%.
A List of Cages by Robin Roe comes out on 10th January 2017. I would suggest you grab a copy ASAP. It’s a book that shouldn’t be missed. Also, look at that gorgeous cover. How can one say no?
*ARC provided by Net Galley – Thank you, guys!*