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A List of Cages

A List of Cages
Robin Roe
Disney-Hyperion, 2017
Source: Library, E-Galley
Audience: Older Teens

From Goodreads:
When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…

Well. Once I got started on A List of Cages, I really didn’t want to read it. So, so sad - yet so inspiring at the same time. It’s amazing how true friendship can change everything. Many parts were hard to read and reminded me of A Child Called It. The ending was different than I wanted or hoped, but I understand how it was necessary to end that way. Julian never would have felt free had it ended any other way. However, it seemed a little unrealistic.* Younger teens might enjoy the book too, but I honestly think it’s more appropriate for older teens.

*Spoiler Alert

I really wanted Russell to rot in prison for the rest of his days. I think that’s what he deserved and how he would have been most miserable. Also, it’s not often that the abusers are murdered. Usually, it’s the victims. It didn’t seem as honest of a portrayal as it could have been. However, his death helped Julian to come out of his shell and lose his fear. What a terrifying, sad story.