Title: A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Genre: YA contemporary
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 kindhearted. 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…
About a month before the release, this book appeared in blog posts and social media and suddenly, it was everywhere—with high ratings. The premise sounded really good, too. I had high expectations and this book surpassed it beautifully.
The book is about two boys Adam, a senior, and Julian, a freshman in high school. Adam is roped into making sure Julian attends his sessions with the school counsellor, and this also let’s him hang out with Julian a bit, who was actually his foster brother years back until Julian’s uncle appeared out of nowhere and took custody. Adam and Julian reconnect throughout the book and soon Julian is offered to tag along with Adam’s group. This leads to Adam becoming suspicious and finding out what exactly is going on in Julian’s home.
Right from the beginning I could sense that Julian wasn’t well in terms of mental health. I commend the author for that. Adam’s and Julian’s POVs were very distinguishable and she wrote it perfectly.
There is also a romance aspect with Adam and a girl named Emerald. It is given quite a bit of attention but the focus never veers far from the main storyline.
- Julian is a freshman is high school but he seems younger. His clothes don’t fit him and he has no friends. To escape, he spends a lot of time in a secret room in school instead of attending classes. I loved the innocence of his character and everything he was going through was written perfectly.
- Adam is an all-the-time cheerful, funny, light-hearted person. He’s also a favourite among teachers. Even though he isn’t anything like the usual popular guys of high school, he is liked by everyone and all girls crush on him. He’s the person who trips even while walking straight and smiles at everyone, spreading happiness.
- Adam’s friends are the coolest. I especially liked Charlie, Adam’s best friend. When Adam brought along Julian, they were pretty chill and accepting of him. Senior groups aren’t usually like that.
- Adam’s mom is awesome. She’s a social worker and defends Adam to death. She’s mom goals.
- I didn’t like Emerald—Adam’s love interest. Her character just didn’t appeal to me. In the beginning I kinda liked her but by the end I just didn’t care. It was like Adam was her only light in life and if he’s ever down, she’d be lost. She depends upon him being happy all the time—almost as if he isn’t allowed to have down days.
- Julian’s uncle was written just right. I don’t want to spoil anything otherwise I would have said a lot.
Loved it. After half the book, I couldn’t put it down or look up from the words. About three-fourths in, my heart was beating only for this book; to know what would happen next and how it would end.
I definitely recommend it. Worth the hype.