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A List of Cages
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
January 10, 2017
ISBN
978-1484763803
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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.

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(Updated: December 03, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

A List of Cages

Adam Blake is excited that he lucked out with an easy elective class in which he serves as the aide to the school psychologist. Then he finds out that one of the students he’s supposed to help is Julian, a former foster kid he hasn’t seen in five years. Julian is quiet and ‘different’. Adam remembers him though as his reading buddy in elementary school. Other kids made fun of his learning disability but Adam caught glimpses of a very bright boy and encouraged him. Then Julian’s parents die and he goes to Adam’s house. Only a so-called relative shows up and Julian is gone. Adam doesn’t hear about Julian until now.

Adam wants to help Julian. He finds that there are many mysteries about Julian like how he’s out of school a lot and very secretive. Only when Adam includes Julian into his inner circle of friends, does he realize how much he wants to help Julian. But by getting close to Julian he ends up finding a terrible secret. One that might put both of their lives in danger.

What worked: Page turning tale that shows the power of friendship and how love does conquer all. I’m a huge fan of books that show protagonists with ADHD and other sensory issues in a positive light without all the clichés and stereotypes. Adam has ADHD but he’s the one that is the leader of his friends and someone that everyone, including Julian, look up too. He also doesn’t let his diagnosis of ADHD hold him back. He’s smart, funny, talented, and a great friend to everyone.

Julian has dyslexia and I think some kind of sensory impairment issue. It doesn’t help that his parents had died as they were the one source of support in his life. His abusive uncle ends up raising him. The scenes where Julian shows readers how he feels invisible are painful and very sad. I wanted to hug him. Adam’s friendship cracks open the shell Julian has around him. These scenes are haunting and powerful.

There’s so much to love about this novel which includes how powerful love and friendship are to those who feel abandoned and lost. Also it shows how you shouldn’t give up on someone if you think that friend might be in an abusive situation. It takes courage to stand up for someone in that kind of situation. But by standing up and being a true friend, you might save a life.

Powerful, courageous story with two characters that stand up to insurmountable odds and end up saving each other.

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