Release by Patrick Ness

Release book cover

(Chantel)

4/5 – Note: Release has only been released in the UK and will be released in the US on September 19, 2017. If you’d like the UK version it’s available now at Book Depository.

Let me get one thing out of the way really quick, I’ve read two of Patrick Ness’s novels already, A Monster Calls and More Than This and those two books alone have made him one of my favorite authors. A Monster Calls had me weeping and More Than This was one of the best books I read last year. I don’t have a formal review on it, but seriously, go check it out.

Obviously, I was excited when I heard he was coming out with a new book this year and I even preordered it through Book Depository because if you want to read this book and you live in the US, you have to buy it from the UK or wait until September when it’s released here. I wasn’t going to wait five months, and the UK cover (see above) is absolutely gorgeous compared to the US cover.

Now, when I heard the concept for this novel, I was immediately in. It’s a day in the life of a gay teenager named Adam Thorn. Patrick Ness took inspiration from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and Forever by Judy Blume. I have not read either book, but another of my favorite books/movies is called The Hours by Michael Cunningham which heavily features inspiration from Mrs. Dalloway as well as a fictional portrayal of Virginia Woolf. Needless to say, I felt like this book was written for me.

I was partly correct. The parts that involved Adam’s day were amazing and hooked me from the beginning. I could’ve read this book in one day if I had the motivation. I actually finished this book, reading a little over two hundred pages in one day. I adored Adam as a character the way I adored Seth from More Than This, and he didn’t disappoint with the side characters. Adam’s best friend Angela was hilarious, his brother Marty was surprisingly complex, and his boyfriend Linus was adorable and sweet. The way he went from flashbacks to present day was brilliant writing as it not only showed how spacey Adam was as a character but it gave us history without being clunky.

There was so much to like about this book and Patrick Ness really did a great job of telling a story of a gay teenager with strictly religious parents and his struggle with all of the relationships in his life. All in one day. We don’t get answers on how life is going to go when this day is over, but things aren’t figured out in a day. You take it one day at a time and that’s so real.

Another thing I’d like to hit on is Patrick Ness doesn’t shy away from sex in his books. There are multiple scenes of sex that Adam has had through his teenage years and that is so important. Sex, in general, is something to normalize especially in YA, but it’s so rare to read about gay characters having sex and it’s important to normalize as well. Especially when it’s safe sex.

Okay, now that I’ve raved about this book I had one huge problem with it. Interweaved with Adam’s day is the journey of the ghost of a girl who was murdered, roaming around town trying to figure out why she died and how she died. There was beautiful writing in these passages, but they ruined the pace of the book for me and I didn’t get it. It took me out of the story every time, and I just wanted to skip over the passages whenever they came up. The book would’ve been a five-star book without them, but because they hindered the pace I have to drop it down to a four-star book.

That being said, I’d still highly recommend picking this up now or in September, whichever tickles your fancy, because I think Adam’s story by itself is worth a read.

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