So much to love about this book.
I am a huge Patrick Ness fan. His Chaos Walking trilogy is among some of my favorite series. I love his writing and I think his storytelling is really unique. So I saw an ARC of Release on Edelweiss and I thought I would go ahead and request it, even though I never get approved on Edelweiss.
But low and behold, I GOT APPROVED. And I seriously loved this book.
This is set during the course of a single day, and we follow Adam, who is a young gay man as he struggles with the fact that his friend/first love is leaving for good. He is also dealing with his parents who are really religious and just overall awful.
The second arc of the story follows the ghost of a young girl who was murdered by her boyfriend and her trying to come to terms with the fact that she is, well, dead.
And that’s the jist of the story.
First of all, I love Patrick Ness’ writing. It flows so nicely and his voice is so strong and present in the story. It’s engaging and you can’t help but keep on reading. He is a very competent and clever author and it always shows in his books.
Secondly, there’s so much to love about this story. The struggles that Adam goes through, the way he feels about himself – it’s all so realistic and genuine. Adam’s family is completely unsupportive and has zero understanding. Ness shows us how that reflects on Adam, how he feels unworthy of love and how his family’s ideas of love and life (by which Adam is not normal and the stuff he feels is somehow less and bad compared to heterosexual feelings) start to make him feel like it’s all true. It was so well done. You can completely relate with Adam and understand how these things would reflect on a young person. Also, there’s a lot of talk of how his parents should love him just because, and not in spite of and that was so superbly done and so well written and completely true. I loved it. I also really loved how his relationship with his brother was handled. That was also wonderful.
Also, there’s this whole exploration of how Adam has trouble letting go of his first boyfriend, Enzo, and how this is ruining a really good relationship that he is in now. Enzo is really uncomfortable with his sexuality and he is basically still in the closet and the way this affects Adam is so well written and realistic. Patrick Ness gets it and it’s really wonderful to see how insightful he is. It was really easy for me to relate and feel for Adam.
One thing that surprised me about this whole thing is just how much sex there’s in this. I usually don’t see a lot of explicit mentions of sex in YA (other than the awful “I don’t know where their body begins and my ends” line). Sex is glossed over and not really properly represented in YA. This is not the case with Release. Sex is mentioned all the time and there’s this normal and healthy attitude towards it, and I really loved that. I think it is so important for young people who are reading this, especially young not-straight people. It’s great and it was something I did not expect and yet I greatly appreciated.
Another lovely thing in the novel is the friendship between Adam and Angela. It’s easy and strong and really wonderful. They are so supportive of each other and there’s no drama there, they did not fight or anything. They were just best friends and it was lovely. A lot of the really great passages happened in their conversations. For example, there’s this talk they have about labels, how for Adam labels have been liberating and how for Angela they are restricting and I found that whole conversation to be the most impactful thing I read in YA. For some people, labels are important and they are affirming and for some they are restricting. And that’s fine and I am so glad that that was included, even though it’s just a really small thing in the scheme of things.
Also, Adam’s relationship with Linus (what a name) is really sweet and I really liked Linus as a character.
The only thing I wasn’t completely sold on is Katie’s (the ghost) storyline. I understand where Ness was going with it and I didn’t mind reading it. The stories also fitted in nicely at the end. I am just not sure how well the themes of the two storylines really fit in together. But that’s a really minor thing.
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend you pick this one up ASAP and obviously:
Final verdict: 4.5 stars
If you read this or plan on reading it in the future, I would love to hear your thoughts on it!
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