Okay, wow, I seriously need to dial back the shouty rhetorical questions… Let me try this again:
You guys!!! Have you – NOPE! Not gonna work! I’m way too keyed up right now!
Hello everyone! And welcome to my review of the latest book by Patrick Ness called Release. A book I finished not 5 minutes ago and cannot wait to spill my thoughts because O.M.G. Beautiful!!
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.
*I received an arc from Pan Macmillan South Africa in exchange for an honest review.*
I am a huge fan of Patrick Ness. I love his writing style and I adore the touch of fantastical bizarreness he adds to his books. He has a truly unique way of telling his stories that I find easy to fall into, and Release was no different. I read this book in one sitting – it was incredibly addictive.
Patrick Ness says in his Author’s Note that this is a very personal book for him, and honestly, after reading it I can absolutely see why. This book felt deeply personal. It felt real; brimming with raw emotion in a different way from any of his previous books.
Take Adam for instance. The more I read Adam’s story, the more attached I became to his character. All the difficulties he’s had to endure during the course of this book – which happens to be one whole day – felt amplified, like it was happening to someone dear to me. The moment I felt those emotions so vividly, was the moment I appreciated how personal this book is. Everything about this story was open; the gaping wounds were left bare for us to see and feel right along with Adam and by extension Patrick Ness himself. I’ve never experienced a story told this way before…
But for all the love that I have for Adam – and let me say, there is a ton of it, and I’d be more than willing to give this book a 5-star rating based on that alone – he isn’t the only thing that makes this book such a gripping story.
Angela, a.k.a Adam’s best friend is all kinds of epic! I mean seriously, we need more friends like these in books!! She is going to be who I measure all book besties against in the future because damn it she is everything! I love her so freaking much!!
“They’re your parents. They’re meant to love you because. Never in spite.”
“When is it that you’ve got my back again, Adam?” Angela asked, in their usual farewell.
He grinned. “Always. Until the end of the world.”
“Oh, yeah. That’s right.” She hung up.
The depth of the friendship between Adam and Angela is undoubtedly one of my favourite things about Release. All through the book, we are given tidbits of info about their friendship and all the milestones they’ve reached together through the years. It’s such a special bond they have. One that’s meaningful and lasting, not fleeting and superficial like a lot of friendships in YA books. Their conversations were lovely to read, and it made Adam’s personality shine through spectacularly. Big love for this duo!
The message behind the story is so beautiful, if not harrowing in the fact that it needs to be said: You deserve to be loved for who you are. No one should ever feel that they are not worthy of being cherished, especially by those who are meant to love you unconditionally. And the cherry on top of this sundae of loveliness Patrick Ness bestowed upon the world is this: You can’t choose your blood, but you damn well can choose your family!!! This is so freaking true, I cannot even begin to describe how much this message resonates with me.
The book was left kind of open-ended, yet hopeful. I kind of took it for granted that everything will work out for Adam the next day; which may not necessarily be true. But that’s just the thing with Ness – he creates these characters that you cannot help but route for. I mean I feel almost protective of Adam; like I want to reach out a force field and just keep all the bad stuff away from him because damn it! He deserves to be happy!!!
The magical realism element was the only part of this book that I found a bit problematic. It was all very confusing to me. I still don’t fully understand the connection of it to Adam’s world, but I think I’ve come to expect this kind of thing from Patrick Ness. Maybe it’s one of those things that will become clearer after a second read, especially since I blazed through it this first time round.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Release, and it gives me a new kind of respect toward Patrick Ness, not only as an individual but as an author too. I highly recommend this book!
My final rating for Release is 4.5/5 fantastical stars!
THE GIVEAWAY (FOR SOUTH AFRICAN RESIDENTS ONLY!!)
After reading that review I’m sure you’re dying to know more about this giveaway I keep hinting at. Am I right? Okay, well I’ll tell you all about it then:
The awesome folk from Pan Macmillan South Africa kindly sent me three stunning copies of Release to giveaway to three lucky South African readers.
Three ridiculously beautiful HARDBACK copies that will not be available in our local bookstores!!
I’ll be choosing two winners over here, and the final winner will be selected from my Instagram page!
NB! If your name is drawn and you do not reside in South Africa, you will be disqualified and a new winner will be chosen. I plan to have an international giveaway soon! (No hard feelings, right?)
**Competition closes Sunday, 2nd July 2017 at 10:00 pm**
I’m actually a bit sad that I won’t get to keep one for myself, but gaaaah I am just too excited to be sharing this with all you lovely people that I don’t even care right now!