“Release” by Patrick Ness
Description: “Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.”
Review: I was so excited when I was able to get an advanced copy of “Release” and quickly read through it. Very rarely do I give half stars but this book was on the verge of being a 4 star book for me. What prevented me from giving it the full 4 stars is that the book is comprised of 2 different stories. There is the beautiful story of Adam Thorn, a character who you can’t help but fall in love with, and a strange paranormal story that left me confused more than anything.
This story really struck me. I recently was talking to an ex-moron friend about the difficult time her best friend had coming out to his religious family. It baffles and upsets me that there is still a stigma around the LGBT community. This book is very timely and is a must read for many people. Adam Thorn is such a likeable and relatable character. Patrick Ness does an amazing job of making the character so realistic. The book follows Adam for just 1 day but it is a day full of meaning for him. After I finished the book I was shocked by how many emotions I felt following just 1 day. Adam’s story is beautiful and sad all at once.
As for the odd paranormal sections… early on you learn about a girl who was murdered in the town. This girl comes back as a strange spirit queen looking for revenge. These sections did not add anything to the story for me and if anything I thought they took away from Adam’s story. I’m very curious to know why Patrick Ness felt the need to add this second story. I think the paranormal story would have been better off as a separate book.
I will definitely be recommending this book to other adults and high schoolers!