Title: A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: NetGalley (free ebook in exchange for an honest review)
A List of Cages by Robin Roe is probably one of the most emotional and powerful books I read in 2016. It follows two boys, Adam and Julian, as they are reunited after five years apart. While Adam is much older than Julian, they rekindle their friendship. From there, however, things take a darker turn as a secret is revealed which would threaten both boys’ lives.
This book delivered more than I expected it to. A number of various themes and topics were covered, from the foster system to ADHD (which Adam has) to child abuse, but none felt particularly forced or overlooked. While I don’t have experience of any of those mentioned, it did feel like Roe had done a well-rounded depiction of each and treated the more difficult themes with the necessary respect. However, that being said, if you are affected by them, it does get quite dark towards the end, so I would recommend doing a touch more research into the book before reading it.
Every component of the story fit perfectly and I ended up being quite emotionally invested in the story-line, so much so that I ended up feeling like a helpless bystander, wanting to do something but being unable to, in the latter half. There were sections which I found difficult to read, but that was purely the content. The writing was brilliant and allowed for easy reading so you could really focus on the story.
I really enjoyed the characters of Adam and Julian. They felt real to me, which only increased the impact of the story. I thought Roe conveyed their experiences well through how they acted and also developed their friendship with each other beautifully.
However, where the book is let down is in the other characters. I felt like they were not quite as developed as they could be and this did lessen their relationships with the two main characters a bit and stopped me connecting with them. Aside from Charlie and Emerald, I can’t remember the names of the rest of Adam’s friends, nor Adam or Julian’s family members. While the plot mainly focuses on the two boys, it would have been nice to see a bit more of how the other characters were affected by the events unfolding.
This book connected with me from the start and I found myself fully caught up in the boys’ journey. While it did take me a little while to get into it at the beginning, I ended up reading the second half well into the night and I still think about it long after finishing that final page. Robin Roe has written a powerful story in A List of Cages.
A List of Cages will be released on January 10th 2017 and I would fully recommend reading it.