TITLE: A List Of Cages
AUTHOR: Robin Roe
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
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 realises 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.
- Adam's POV chapters were really great! I really liked him a lot, and thought that Roe did a fantastic job with portraying a character with ADHD without making it the focus of the story. I've never actually read a book with an MC with ADHD before. I thought that was really cool! I really liked Adam's friends too, I actually felt like I was reading a book about a relateable group of friends that didn't fall into stereotypes too much!
- This book gave great 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' vibes which worked in it's favour, especially as it didn't put so much emphasis on the romance and instead looked at friendship. I liked the positive outlook on therapy, I liked that every character had their own story going on even if it didn't directly affect the main plot line. There were so many great, intricate things about this book. Details are important, and Roe made sure they were there.
What I Disliked:
- This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion but I really wasn't a fan of Julian. I didn't hate him of course and his situation broke my heart. I cared about him. But I also found him so boring. A complete pushover, a bit of a Mary Sue and while I wanted to find him adorable, I...didn't. That meant that half the book was a bit 'meh' for me, so that makes me sad.
- Russell was a good villain but I really think that Roe should have looked into his backstory and motivation a little more. How on Earth did he become so obviously mentally unstable without anyone noticing? How did he get custody of Julian? He never even pretends to be a nice guy! Honestly, I'm struggling to believe it. It made me feel that the abuse was more of a plot device than anything, which is not cool.
My thoughts were mixed on this one. Julian didn't really appeal to me as a character though of course I felt really sorry for him. Russell as a villain didn't have me totally convinced either, and dark story-lines for the sake of it I find very uncomfortable. That paired with the slow start really had me thinking this wasn't going to be a good read. The second half of the book was much better pacing-wise and I did adore Adam's chapters all the way through. Despite some issues, this book gave me good vibes too and I'm glad I finished it. I just wish I'd loved it as much as others did.