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A List of Cages
Cover of A List of Cages
A List of Cages
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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...
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...
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  • 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 17, 2016
    Roe draws from her work with at-risk teens to create her first novel, a psychologically taut tale of foster brothers unexpectedly reunited. The story alternates between the perspectives of Adam, the son of a social worker, and Julian, who lived at Adam’s house for a time after his parents died. Seven years later, Julian, who currently lives with his uncle, enters the same high school where Adam is a senior. Adam again finds himself playing the role of big brother to Julian, but besides having grown older, some things about Julian have changed: he’s quieter, his clothes don’t fit, and he seems to be sick too often. After drawing grim conclusions about Julian’s home life and guardian, Adam opts not to speak out, a decision that could have serious consequences. Roe gives a close-up view of two teens with disabilities (Julian has dyslexia, Adam has been diagnosed with ADHD) while building a sharp contrast between their views of the world and sense of normalcy. Written with honesty and compassion, this book will resonate with a wide range of readers. Ages 12–up. Agent: Peter Steinberg, Foundry Literary + Media.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from October 1, 2016
    In her debut, Roe tells the story of a friendship between two young men who will linger in the thoughts and minds of readers long after the final page is turned. Told through alternating first-person narration, the story of 14-year-old Julian and his former foster brother, 18-year-old Adam, is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. Five years after losing his parents in a tragic accident and being taken from a loving foster home to live with a cold and brutal uncle, Adam Blake quite literally walks back into Julians life. Plagued by antsy feet courtesy of his ADHD, Adam is happy to be assigned the job of escorting Julian to the counseling sessions that hes been frequently skipping. Though both boys are thrilled to be reunited, theres an uneasiness that lies between them. Reclusive and wracked with self-doubt, Adam quickly realizes that this Julian is much different from the one he used to know. Roe deliberately unspools her story, keeping readers wondering why Julian, who clearly desperately craves connection, keeps Adam at arms length. Emotion courses through every sentence of this novel, whether it is love, compassion, or bone-chilling cruelty. Julian and Adam are dark-haired but otherwise racially indeterminate. A triumphant story about the power of friendship and of truly being seen. (Fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Julian-shy, quiet, and nervous-has just entered high school, and it's a nightmare. Kids pick on him for the children's books that he keeps in his backpack; teachers berate him for not speaking up in class and for handing in near-illegible assignments because of his undiagnosed dyslexia. He hides away in the school theater at lunchtime just to get away from everything, and he has to go home to his tyrannical and abusive uncle, who beats him with a switch. His daily appointments with the school psychiatrist yield nothing but further anxiety, until one day, Julian discovers that Adam, his former foster brother, is the psychiatrist's intern. Adam's family took Julian in after his parents were killed in a car crash, but then his uncle stepped forward as his legal guardian, and Julian was taken away. Adam, a bright, popular senior with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, takes Julian under his wing and brings him out of his shell, and when Julian abruptly "falls ill" for two weeks, Adam and his friends suspect there is something much more sinister at hand. Roe, a social worker, has written a stunning debut about loss, friendship, and the power of family. Many scenes of abuse will challenge readers with authentic detail; Julian suffers regular beatings and is, at one point, locked in a chest without food. Emotional, visceral, and heartbreaking, this novel offers expertly rendered characters and beautiful language, especially when describing Julian's struggles. VERDICT A potent and moving work. Do not pass over this book.-Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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