Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: contemporary, diverse, young adult
Release Date: May 4, 2017
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Link to book here.
This entire plot all occurs in one day which I thought was super clever and extremely well paced! Adam’s voice hooked me from the first few pages; he was honest, quiet, witty, but kind of generally confused and I connected with him immediately. Life seemed to happen to Adam and he just let it. But on this one day that Release covers, he really blooms, gains courage, and he finds his voice.
Also included in the narrative is Katie, who was murdered in a lake in the small town where Adam lives. He buys a rose with intent, pricks his finger, and as Katie’s ghost emerges from the lake, she senses him and their narrations blur together. It was extremely intriguing, even if I was a little confused at her ghost’s purpose throughout the book. It concluded quite nicely.
Adam’s one day is absolutely hectic and emotional, I expected nothing less from Ness’s writing! There’s also a brilliant commentary between Adam and his best friend, where they discuss labels for their sexuality; he said understanding his, that he is gay, was liberating, whereas she said she didn’t want to be defined by a single word because it felt confining. It was just brilliant to see such a discussion in a YA book and I smiled a lot when I read it.
I can’t say a lot about what I loved, or what happened, without spoiling the plot for you… AH! Just know that I really liked Adam Thorne, he was so conflicted, confused, and faced hell from his family’s beliefs (among many other things). I can’t believe it was only a day in his life, the poor dude. What I did love was his support network; his best friend and his partner were adorable. ❤
Overall, this was a book about truth, trust, friendship and finding your voice; I would definitely recommend if you’re already a Ness fan! If you’re into contemporary this is also for you! It didn’t quite hit five stars for me because the magical element with Katie and the faun mildly confused me, but I still enjoyed the story nonetheless!
4 / 5 stars
Huge thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy of Release in exchange for an honest review! ❤