“Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.”
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! This is my first experience reading a Patrick Ness book (except for reading a chapter or two from The Rest of Us Just Live Here)!
“It was so much easier to be loved than to have to do any of the desperate work of loving.”
Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars
Overall Thoughts: This book was, okay? I really liked parts of it, but then other parts were confusing and felt completely unnecessary (basically the whole extra side plot going in, if I’ll be honest.) It did a great job of dealing with tough issues in the main plotline with Adam, but then this magical realism tie-in plot about a girl who died kinda took away from it. I honestly found myself skimming those parts more as I continued further into the book, as it just read so odd and was pretty confusing. If we had just had the plot with Adam, and his horrible yet freeing day, I probably would’ve ended up rating this book higher.
The Good: It was dark and it was gritty and it was everything it needed to be to properly tell the story of Adam, of his heart broken by friends, lovers, and family. It dealt with everything realistically, and while yes it was a bit weird for everything to suddenly go wrong on the same day, I understand that was needed for this novel to be the way it is. Adam’s story was a tough one to read, but it’s one that I feel we all need to hear, the cruelty and hardships he faces just for being different than what his family expects to be, just for being himself and having his own beliefs. On top of all that, it also dealt with issues that all of us might feel, losing friends to the future and struggling with love and the loss of it.
The Bad: My main issue with the whole novel is definitely the whole magical realism subplot about a dead girl and some magic queen. It didn’t feel like it was given enough space to actually make enough sense, but then I also feel it took up too much space in the novel, took me too much out of Adam’s story at points. If this idea had been given it’s own space and time to exist, it could have flourished, and I could have enjoyed it. But it felt like these two stories combatted for my attention more than they flowed together to create a larger meaning, and that is why I had to rate the book the way I did.