Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books/HarperTeen
Genre/Themes/Demo: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Release Date: September 19th 2017 (North America)
Page Count: 277
Initial Post Reading Thoughts
This definitely had its strange and confusing moments, but it was still really beautiful? I feel like I’m going to have a hard time describing this book. It was like it had two different stories going on simultaneously. I think I need to think about this one a little bit more before writing a full review.
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.
What I Liked
A Day In The Life. Release tells the story of Adam Thorn and it all takes place during a single day in his life. Honestly, so much happens to this kid within one day it was almost hard to believe that this story took place within a day. Then I started to remember all of the days where it felt like it couldn’t get any worse…and it did. Release did a great job of telling the reader a story about a kid who is getting hit with everything all at once.
Simultaneous storytelling. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this aspect of the story at first, but after thinking about it for a bit, I really like this idea. It was cool to see two very different stories being told at once. I thought that maybe they would intertwine, which they kind of did, but not to the extent that I thought that they would. I actually really liked the subtly of it. The two stories didn’t really meet until the very end of the novel, and while I definitely wanted to know more, I’m okay with the kind of open ending that we got.
The strangeness of it all. As you can probably tell, Release was slightly on the stranger side. Two very different stories being told at once was already a pretty quirky take on storytelling, but it was also the content of the second story that was on the stranger side. It was almost paranormal/urban fantasy/magical realism in nature? I honestly don’t even know how to describe it, but I can tell you that I loved how unique it was! Also, anyone who knows me knows that I love all things weird/quirky/dark & strange!
Classic coming of age. Somehow, mixed into all the weird, there was a classic coming of age story being told. We meet a boy who has recently begun a new relationship after his old one fell apart, all while he’s trying to figure out if he still has feelings for the first boy, or if he is ready to move on with this new boy. All while something strange and dark is happening in the town around them. It all sounds a little out there, I know, but it really did work!
What I Didn’t Like
Slightly out there. I keep praising the strangeness of this novel, but at times it did confuse me. I guess it was just my natural need to understand what the heck was going on. It took me until the end of the novel to accept that I wasn’t going to get all the answers that I wanted and that it was okay.
Overall, this book was definitely a strange one, but it was the kind of strange that I absolutely love. The kind that makes you think. I really enjoyed this novel, just like I’ve enjoyed everything else I’ve ever read by Patrick Ness. I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next!
About The Author
I’m Patrick Ness. I claim three states in America as my home (as Americans are wont to do): I was born in Virginia, my first memories are Hawaiian, and I went to junior high and high school in Washington. Then I lived in California for college (at USC) and moved to the United Kingdom in 1999, where I’ve lived (mostly in London) ever since. I’ve written nine books: 2 novels for adults (The Crash of Hennington and The Crane Wife), 1 short story collection for adults (Topics About Which I Know Nothing) and 6 novels for young adults (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men, A Monster Calls, More Than This and The Rest of Us Just Live Here). For these books, I’ve won the Carnegie Medal twice, the Costa Children’s Book Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Red House Book Award, the Jugendliteratur Preis, the UKLA Award, the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the fabulous, fabulous, fabulous Jim Kay also won the Greenaway for his illustrations in A Monster Calls (so buy that version, would you?). I write screenplays as well, including for the movie version of A Monster Calls starring Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones, out January 2017. I love the Decemberists, Peter Carey and A&W Cream Soda. I dislike onions. Intensely.
Thank you for reading!