Where do I start with this one? A startlingly brilliant story of friendship and about being different that will have you experiencing every emotion under the sun. A List of Cages isn’t always an easy read with some really very harrowing scenes especially in Part Two of the book. Billed as a Young Adult book I’d say that this really isn’t suitable for younger more impressionable teens.
Adam Blake is in his Senior Year at High School and for his elective he is assisting the school psychologist. As someone who suffers from ADHD himself he knows what it is like to suffer at school. When a young freshman has been dodging sessions with the doctor he is sent to escort them to the sessions. He is shocked to discover that it is Julian, an orphan that his mother had fostered but hadn’t seen for five years since an uncle turned up and claimed him.
At first appearances it looks like Julian hasn’t changed too much. He is still a quirky lad with a love of storybooks aimed at much younger children. As Adam starts to get to know him again and befriends Julian it becomes clear that something odd is going on in his home life. Julian is sick a lot and has a lot of days off school with flu. Uncle Russell has strict rules and when Adam starts trying to push back and find out what is going on it only leads to more issues for poor Julian. A truly heart-breaking story with some exceptionally dark scenes that is balanced out by the heart and goodness of Adam. I love the idea of his kindness and humanity ricocheting around the school:
“When he starts walking, I fall into step beside him, and it’s like trying to keep up with something that has too much energy for its container. It fills the hall and ricochets against everyone we pass. A teacher can be approaching, face stressed or sad, and body bent as if they’re carrying something too heavy.
Then they see Adam.
They blink as if blinded, and their mouth spreads into a Christmasmorning smile.”
There have been so many wonderful debut books this year already and this one by
Robin Roe looks to be on all the Must Read lists that matter. Her experience as a high school special education teacher has given her a unique insight into the issues discussed in the book.
Supplied by Net Galley and Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication Date: Jan 10 2017. 310 pages.