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A list of cages
2017
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Summary
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. Praise for A List of Cages: "A remarkably gripping and moving tale of a life saved-in more than one way-by the power of friendship." -Emma Donoghue, best-selling author or Room "As inspiring as it is heartbreaking, A List of Cages is a hero story you will never forget." -Tamara Ireland Stone, best-selling author of Every Last Word "A poignant, hopeful story about loss, grief, abuse, and the transformative power of friendship." -Amber Smith, New York Times best-selling author of The Way I Used to Be * "A triumphant story about the power of friendship and of truly being seen." -Kirkus Reviews starred review * "A page-turner with a lot of compassion." -Booklist starred review
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Fourteen-year-old Julian is a damaged boy, taciturn and withdrawn, painfully shy and still bereft from the death of his parents when he was a child. A poor student with illegible handwriting, he is often the subject of teachers' scorn and classmates' teasing. As a result, he regularly skips classes to hide in a secret room he has found. His home life is even worse: he is the ward of his uncle by marriage, a cold, distant, dangerous man who often punishes Julian cruelly, whipping him with a switch and lacerating the skin on his torso. Things begin to gradually change when he encounters Adam, a teenager who had once been Julian's foster brother before the uncle took custody. Adam, who had ADHD as a child, is still a restless but exuberant, happy presence, beloved by fellow students and teachers alike. When he unofficially adopts Julian, he brings light into the boy's hitherto dark existence, though danger still lurks. The two boys tell their respective, affecting stories in first-person voices that perfectly reflect their characters and rive the story's compelling action. Roe's debut may lack subtlety, but it makes up for it with memorable characters and high drama. A page-turner with a lot of compassion.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist
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