A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Hooray for Thursday! The week is so close to being done and that means we only have two more days {one more, if you’re lucky like my boyfriend} until prime reading time. This book doesn’t come out until Tuesday {sorry!}, but now you have something to look forward to while you speed through your current read to get it done by Tuesday.


Title: A List of Cages {320 pgs}

Genre: YA

Publication Date: January 10, 2017


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.

Rereading this summary and knowing what you’re about to dive into, it makes me want to scream the ending, because I want everyone to know…things. Oh, such things.

Adam, popular, sweet, lovable Adam, moves around his life with the kind of ease that is enviable. His friends are wonderful, a tight-knit group with their own personalities and flaws, but friends nonetheless. They all seem to know their place in school and what they’re going to do on the weekend and that they’ll all be friends no matter what, even when the girls start going for each others’ throats. On the flipside, there’s Julian, the quiet freshman who skips class due to a mysterious illness and who really doesn’t look past tomorrow, because what’s the point?

Julian’s parents died in a car accident when he was younger, and he went to live with Adam and his social worker mom before Julian’s Uncle Russell was given custody. Then Julian kind of fell off the map.

I honestly thought this was going to be a story about two boys finding each other again and learning to be friends or brothers, but it was so much deeper than that. Adam blows into Julian’s life like a storm, giving him a social life and introducing him to people who Julian might be able to call friends. Julian has never really had friends before, as he’s always been the slightly weird kid, breaking into song or falling into his own little world of adventure books and pictures, and he doesn’t change for these people, and they still accept him. Little by little, Adam pulls Julian out of his shell, while also learning about himself in the process. Adam can be a little blind when it comes to things, but he plows through, ADHD probably helping that, and does what he can to make those around him happy.

By far, though, my favorite character was Charlie, Adam’s best friend. At first, Charlie seems like the stereotypical jock, big and burly and angry. He lives in a house surrounded by a thousand siblings, and he appears to hate each one of them equally. He becomes fiercely jealous when he notices Adam hanging out with Julian more and more, and sometimes you fear for Julian’s life when he’s around Charlie. But then Charlie grows and learns that there can be more than one best friend in someone’s life, and then Charlie becomes a kind of protector and you can see that not only is he a good friend, he’s a good brother, even if he doesn’t want to be. Without him, the story would have been a lot less brighter.

This book deals with terrible things, and there were a few parts where I had to set my Kindle down and cry. But I loved reading from both Julian and Adam’s point of views. The author managed to bring out their respective personalities in their chapters, with Adam’s chapters being a whirlwind of movement and action, and Julian’s being slower and secretive. It’s written in such a way as to pull the reader into the story, so you feel like you’re walking alongside these two boys as they navigate life and the world that is to come.

This was one of the books I was most excited to read for 2017, and I did a little dance when NetGalley approved me for it. It’s a life-changer, this book, and I mean that in the best way possible.

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