Saturday, February 4, 2017

Book Review: A List of Cages

Adam and Julian. My goodness will this book be heavy on my heart for a long time. A story of the power of friendship to overcome all odds - and that's just the beginning! Adam, a senior in high school and Mr. Congeniality, is an aide to the school psychologist for one of his classes. In that role, he ends up escorting Julian, a lonely, out-of-place freshman and his prior foster brother from five years ago, to his appointments. Julian and Adam begin hanging out again, and as their worlds intersect regain the bond only friends as close as family can have.

Being a first time novel for Robin Roe, I can assuredly say I will be among the first to buy whatever she writes next! Incredibly gripping characters, a tragic story - but one that will leave you cheering for Adam, Julian, and their host of friends as they navigate the waters of friendship, family, and young adulthood in the midst of such heavy tragedy.

(Semi-spoilers coming, so beware and proceed with caution)

As Julian's Uncle Russell escalates in his abuse of Julian - Adam is the one Julian can keep counting on. The way Adam carries Julian's load as his own just melts your heart into a million pieces, leaving you aching for them both in the most terrible of situations that somehow just keeps getting worse.

Lingering Lines:

Dad pointed to the picture, his index finger a rainbow of ink. He's right here.
But in between? Where was he? 
I don't know.
Dad turned the page and kept on reading as if the place where Elian disappeared didn't matter. Because when you're between two shores and no one can see you, you don't really exist at all. (42)

This part is hardest. A billion years of evolution tells your cells to run. But you can't run. You have to turn around and face the desert wall. You have to be still. he doesn't care if you cry, but you can't fight. (53)

Instead I feel something warm spread through my body. People I love will be watching me. Their eyes like safety nets, I can't fall. (188)

When I was nine years old, only a few hours before I left for camp, I found my package of glow-in-the-dark stars, and I stuck them all to the roof of this trunk. Why did I do that? It wasn't as if I'd ever see them.
My stuttering laughter echoes inside the trunk. My breath becomes easier now. I look up, watching the lid expand higher and higher until it isn't there at all. I'm lying beneath an infinite star-filled sky. (202)

Julian would hate it, but seeing my closest friends rush to the emergency-room lobby wearing pajamas or hastily-thrown-on, wrinkled clothes sends an unexpected burn to the back of my throat... This time I get through it like a professional, calmly bullet-pointing all the pertinent facts (230).

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