Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review | A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe

January 10, 2017
A LIST OF CAGES is not your average contemporary young adult novel. With deep raw emotions and a loud call for compassion, Robin Roe wrote a debut that may mark every reader forever.

Fourteen-year-old Julian is reclusive, anxious, and suffers from self-esteem attacks. Five years ago, he lost both of his parents in a car accident and he was immediately folded into foster care. As a high school freshman, school is very difficult for Julian. He has learning disabilities, which makes him an everyday target for bullies, and, sadly, his teachers never cared enough to help him.

Adam, meanwhile, is a high school senior, whose present elective is to help the school psychologist track down Julian and make sure he doesn’t (conveniently) miss more appointments. It should help that Adam was once Julian’s foster brother, but the present Julian that Adam is trying to engage is too different from the one he remembered. So, despite their age difference and preferences, Adam threw in some effort in including Julian into his circle of friends and adds some sense of normalcy into the boy’s life. 

As the story unfolds, Adam suspected that things are much worse than Julian lets on, but Julian is frantic in keeping his friend at arm’s length. Undeterred, Adam is resolute to find out the answers to his worrying questions.
"I know it’s pointless, but I find myself doing it now.
Projecting thoughts and whispering names.
Trying to send out a message that will never be received."

This book caught me off guard. I didn't know when the tears start spilling, but they certainly did. Julian’s story squeezed my heart; it was so painful that at times I wanted to shout.  What happened to him was harrowing. I terribly wished for him to open up, tell the truth, to call for help. I could feel his anguish and fear -his list of cages- that entraps him. This book could hurt you too. 

Statistics says (1) that there are estimated 400,000 kids in (USA) foster care right now; (2) that foster kids can suffer from PTSD at almost two times the rate of returning veterans; (3) that the average age of a foster child is 9-years old; (4) that half of all foster kids are in non-relative foster homes. Julian’s story may not be real, but there are thousands that undoubtedly are. I highly recommend that you read A LIST OF CAGES, too.👍

Book details: 
Author:  Robin Roe
Publication:  January 10, 2017; by Disney-Hyperion
Genre:  YA Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

*Thank you, Disney-Hyperion, for the galley.
*This review contains a quote from an uncorrected copy.


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