Early Book Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Buddy Read)

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Title: AList of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: January 10th, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (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.

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About our buddy read

I read A List of Cages with Jasmine from How Useful It Is. She is an amazing blogger who’s reviews are always a pleasure to read.

Her review is already posted on her blog, so make sure to visit it and read her toughts.

We both composed three questions (Jasmine’s idea) for each other, and you can read her questions here on my blog (with our answers) and mine on her blog.

 

This book is the author’s first ever novel. Do you feel reluctant to read it?

Jasmine: No. I don’t judge by the author’s number of novels published. I saw the cover looks cute and by the glimpse of the synopsis, it sounds interesting. I always hope the book is good before I start reading and I am so glad my wish come true!

Irena: No! Since I started reviewing books I learned how important it is to give debut authors a chance, because they don’t have a fanbase that supports them (yet). I always like to give new authors a try so when a novel comes from a debut author, it kind of makes me want to read it even more.

 

What do you love most about this book?

Jasmine: I love that justice is served. I love it when a book teaches us things. This book is full of things to remember, especially, how your smiles can affect others.

Irena: I loved how this book carries an important message, but at the same time it shows teenage life in realistic way, describing not only dark moments that come along with the story it brings, but also fun momends in which friends bond. I loved how the author found the balance between the two.

 

Do you want the author to write more books?

Jasmine: Absolutely! Please write more!

Irena: I would be honoured to read more of Robin Roe’s work.

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My Review:

A List of Cages is not a book that grabs your attention immediately.
At least, it was not in my case.
I saw it’s cover on Netgalley, but didn’t pay much attention to it until I got an invitation to review it.
That invitation made me read what this story is actually about, and, since it sounded interesting and like something that could possibly make me learn something new, I decided to give it a try.
I am so glad I did! This book ended up as one of the best books I read in 2016, because of the powerful message it brings.

The story centres around two boys: Adam and Julian. It is told in first person, from both boys’ POV.

I loved how author managed for both voices to sound differently, which is very important for me when it comes to alternating perspectives.
I enjoyed reading both point of views, but I have to admit that Adam’s was more enjoyable for me, because Julien’s was sometimes too hard to read (emotinally).

That’s why I question whether the word “enjoyed” is the right one to use. This book was great, even perfect at some point, but it was also very, very hard at times.
Some situations in this story were emotinally draining.
Robin Roe is not afraid to tell the story in realistic way. There’s no sugarcoating.
The violence is described in a way that it is not too descriptive, but shows you enough to make your eyes tear up.

This is a work of fiction, but I honestly believe that similar cases to Julien’s are happening right now in the world we live in (I still remember one episode of Oprah Show that I watched when I was a kid, with three brothers with similar fate as Julien’s).
Therefore, A List of Cages is so important! I think people of all ages should read it, and after they do, they should talk about it, talk about what happened in this story and make others read it too.

This book tells us how important it is to find our voice and talk. And for those who can’t, we have to help them find their voices, encourage them in a way we can, and never stop talking.
There are so many awful things going on in the world right now, and raising our voices is one way we can at least try to make things better.

Although A List of Cages is a novel that talks about serious topic, it also shows life of teenagers in a realistic way.
There are funny scenes and everyday life moments.
Parties, chrushes and bonding also found their places on pages.
Because of that aspect, this novel reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (the movie, I still haven’t read the book. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my all-time favorite movie. Ever!).

Robin Roe did an amazing job when it comes to characterization.
Her focus was not only on Adam and Julien who are “stars” of the story, but she also created side characters who weren’t only interesting, but also went through development as well.
My favorite character was Charlie. I loved his story and enjoyed reading about him.

The writing style is really good.
Once you start reading, it’s hard to stop, and it reads quickly.
If my Nook didn’t chrash in the middle of reading, I would probably finish it even faster then I did.

Overall, A List of Cages is a book that should find itself on everyone’s tbr lists.
I know that there’s still no book that everyone likes, but in this case, I really think that many people should at least give it a try.

5

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