A List of Cages by Robin Roe Review

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Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Release Date: 10th January 2017

Pages: 320

Genre: YA/Contemporary

Buy: Amazon


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 kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realises 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… – GR


CW: graphic descriptions of child abuse.

This book was exactly what I needed. I have chronic pain due to a joint condition and I was having a particularly bad day when I picked A List of Cages up. I wasn’t able to move from the couch and was feeling so down that I didn’t want to do anything. My dad pushed my Kindle into my hand and told me to stop staring at the ceiling, so I was scrolling through my library and picked this one because I wanted an easy contemporary with minimal world-building to keep my mind off the real world. It certainly did that.

A List of Cages is nothing short of fantastic, and it is the characters who make it so. Adam and Julian are two of my new favourite characters. I could relate to so much of Julian’s personality – his hesitance and anxiety, and the general feeling of just not fitting in. But I also managed to relate to Adam’s character and I appreciated the relationship he had with his mother too. I’ll keep saying it, YA needs some more supportive and loving parents.

Julian’s story made me cry many times, and that’s not typically something I do in books. I might get a gut-punch feeling or a little teary, but I ended up fully sobbing into my pillow by the end. And that’s another thing that never happens – I never stay up reading books because I’m always tired (a combination of my joint condition and frequent anaemia) but I stayed up until midnight to finish this story. It reads so easily despite it’s tough subject matter.

I do feel that the child abuse may have been a little gratuitous at times but I’ve never been in that situation myself so cannot comment on how well it was handled. At times it seemed just a tiny bit too much like it was there for drama, and that isn’t synonymous with the message of the book.

However, this book managed to keep my mind off my pain and got me through a difficult day, and I owe it a lot for that and as a result, I may be looking at it with rose-tinted glasses. Nevertheless, if you keep in mind the content matter and prepare yourself for that, I think this book will be a perfect one-sitting read.


 Have you read A List of Cages? Let me know in the comments and we can discuss!

Until the next time!

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