ARC review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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At first glance, you probably wouldn’t expect Adam and Julian to be friends. Adam is eighteen. A senior. Outgoing, handsome, well-liked. An all-around good guy. Julian is fourteen. A freshman. A frightened little boy who misses the parents that died when he was young. A boy who hides, who tries to not catch anyone’s attention, who wears outdated clothes that don’t fit.

At first glance, you wouldn’t know that Adam and Julian used to be foster brothers. They were kept apart for years by the uncle who eventually took Julian in, but now, at the same high school, they’ve found their way back to each other. Adam’s job is to get Julian to his school psychologist appointments. Julian makes it his daily mission to avoid them.

It’s clear that something’s off. I suspected child abuse in the first few chapters. I didn’t expect, though, to have my heart ripped out of my chest once everything became clear. This book was not what I expected. This book is not something I would have ever imagined would be published by Disney-Hyperion. But this book is also so, so important. I cried. I finished the book and just stared at the wall, unable to form any coherent thoughts.

The writing is stunning. I can’t believe this was a debut! The characters were so well-developed. There wasn’t a single plot thread left unfinished. I gave this book four stars only because it took me awhile to get interested. But once I did, it was so worth it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★★★★☆