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 A boy who hides, who tries to not catch anyone’s attention, who wears outdated clothes that don’t fit.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: ★★★★☆

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2016

Whoa, it’s been months since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday!  I happened to scroll down while I was preparing a list of my top new (to me) authors of 2016 and saw that I’d flagged this topic as one I absolutely had to do.  What are the chances that the timing would be so perfect?

So, without further ado, here are ten authors (listed alphabetically) that I read for the first time in 2016 and will, without a doubt, continue to read in the future:

  • Melissa Chambers.  I read Chambers’ The Summer Before Forever and was actually pretty surprised to find a young adult book that really delicately handled a romantic relationship between stepsiblings.  I’m really curious to see what she’ll come up with next.
  • Rebekah Crane.  Of all my Kindle First picks, Crane’s The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is one of my favorites.  A motley crew of teenagers helping each other overcome their problems at a picturesque summer camp?  That’s just my kind of story.
  • Melanie Harlow.  BookBub often alerts me to free erotica, and nine times out of ten, it’s absolutely awful.  Harlow’s Frenched was a great exception to the rule, and I’ve already got an eye out for more of her work.

  • Aaron Hartzler.  When What We Saw came out earlier last year, my Goodreads feed was flooded with positive reviews.  It took awhile for my library to get it, but it was absolutely worth the wait.  Now I am waiting patiently for more of Hartzler’s work to show up.
  • Hazel Kelly.  Kindle Unlimited is a tricky thing.  There’s an awful lot of books available, and an awful lot of them aren’t very good.  But sometimes, you find a really good author whose books are well-written and don’t just feature the same plot over and over with different characters.  Kelly is one of those authors.
  • Robin Roe.  I haven’t yet reviewed Roe’s A List of Cages, but it hit me hard.  This story of a young boy with an abusive uncle and his friend who struggles to help him ripped my heart out.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
  • Tiffany Truitt.  Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart still stands out as one of the cutest (and also sexiest) books I read this year.  I fell in love with the characters and world created by Truitt.
  • Danika Stone.  If you’re looking for a good book about nerd culture, look no further than Stone’s All the Feels.  I have yet to read another book that so clearly captures the level of obsession I can get with a fictional universe.
  • Siobhan Vivian. I read two of Vivian’s books this year and was pleased with both.  The one I particularly liked was her new release, The Last Boy and Girl in the World.  I am so excited to see what she releases next.
  • Francesca Zappia. Saving the absolute best for last, Zappia’s Made You Up is one of my all-time favorite reads.  I absolutely adored the characters that she created, and I loved that we never quite knew whether what was happening was actually the truth.  I have so much respect for her as an author and I know she’s going to go on to do great things.

Which authors, if any, did you fall in love with this year?