Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.
About the book-
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 kind hearted. 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. First-time novelist Robin Roe relied on life experience when writing this exquisite, gripping story featuring two lionhearted characters.
It has been a long time since I read a book that impacted me as much as A List of Cages. At the heart of it, is a strong bond between Adam, a popular boy who takes care of everyone around him and doesn't seem to have a care in the world, and a younger boy, who once was Adam's foster brother, Julian, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. The book switches narratives between Adam and Julian. I appreciate this style of writing maybe more than any other kind because it gives us more than one perspective and I feel like that always makes for a stronger story. By the end of the novel, I almost felt physically ill at some of the things poor Julian endured, but at the heart of the novel is the friendship between these two unlikely friends. I can not believe this was a debut novel. The writing was stellar, I kept wanting more, the character development was on point and both of those things lead to big feelings to be felt by the reader. I will be on the look out for more from Ms. Roe. If her future novels are anything like A List of Cages, she should have a long, successful career as a novelist ahead of her!