Title: A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Child Abuse
Published On: January 10th 2017
My Rating: 4 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 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…
My Review ♥
I didn’t expect to like A List of Cages quite as much as I did, but I really enjoyed it and all the emotions it induced. Adam and Julian have the kind of mentor/friend relationship that most people long for. Adam is a senior in high school who takes Julian, a quiet fourteen year old, under his wing.
Adam was previously partnered with Julian in elementary school as reading buddies, and when Julian startes seeing (or ditching, more accurately) his school therapist, Adam is once again partnered with Julian to make sure he gets to his appointments. Except, Adam’s role is much more than that. Although Adam is friendly towards Julian already because he’s just a pretty great person in general, he is asked to befriend Julian.
It is revealed that Julian and Adam have more of a history than just being reading buddies and that Julian’s parents tragically died in an accident when he was younger. Through alternating perspectives from Julian and Adam, we get a glimpse into the friendship that blossoms between the two as well as the horrors Julian faces at home with his uncle. The different perspectives were not confusing at all and each boy had their own distinct voice; I could always tell who was narrating even if I missed the chapter heading that indicated the perspective.
“It’s strange how many ways there are to miss someone. You miss the things they did and who they were, but you also miss who you were to them. The way everything you said and did was beautiful or entertaining or important. How much you mattered.” – Robin Roe, A List of Cages
I didn’t love the all the cafeteria scenes in the novel; some of them seemed a bit tedious in description, but they resulted in more round characters that I could relate to and understand, even though this wasn’t their story. I didn’t like that a romance was introduced into the plot, either.
While there’s a couple things about this book I didn’t love, the story is heartwarming and harrowing as genuine friendship is woven in with tragic scenes of abuse that culminates into a life-threatening situation that will likely haunt these boys for the rest of their lives. This book was incredibly hard to read at some points because of the abuse, but this is absolutely a book worth reading.
On a lighter note, other characters such as Adam’s mother and friends were all very dimensional. I loved how special all of Adam’s friendships were, although the romance that he had seemed a bit unnecessary in a book like this. The romance was believable and sweet, though.
OVERALL? Definitely a book worth your time and money! : )