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A Novel

Book - 2017
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Adam Thorn doesn't know it yet, but today will change his life. Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam's life is falling apart. At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn't he?) and his best friend, Angela. But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam's life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release. Time is running out, though. Because way across town, a ghost has just risen from the lake...-- from dust jacket
Publisher: New York, NY : HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017
Edition: First US edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062403193
Characteristics: 277 pages ; 22 cm


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Sep 05, 2020

I enjoyed Ness's other novel More Than This, but just wasn't sure what to make of Release. Frankly, it felt like I was reading two totally different books. My friend listened to an audio book version of this and skipped the "dark fantasy" parts about the Queen and her court out in the woods, and I'd started doing the same thing: How does it relate to the other novel here? It felt like someone at the publishing house had mixed up chapters from unrelated novels. Loved the LGBTQ love story portion between Adam and Linus.

Wow wow wow. I'm so consistently in awe of Patrick Ness. I never know what to expect from him, and somehow, no matter what I get, I'm always blown away.

Release follows a day in the life of Adam Thorn. The son of a preacher, Adam navigates his sexuality, his desire for love, and his inability to let go of the past, all in one day that will ultimately change everything for him - and for the supernatural beings experiencing the day alongside him.

This is a strange book. It won't be for everyone. I did find the format, with alternating perspectives between Adam and this strange faun and his Queen, to be somewhat jarring at times, but ultimately, even though I had no real idea what was happening during the latter bits, I just felt so much and so intensely for this book that I can't give it any less than five stars.

Adam Thorn is a character who is blessedly flawed. Wonderfully multifaceted. Intricately broken and with so much potential for growth. His journey touched me in a way that other "contemporary" (because ultimately, that's what his portion of the book is) sometimes doesn't. He feels real; the stuff he deals with feels real; the way he grows over the course of the day is immense and just so heartbreaking. He is the heart of the story, and that story gave me chills and made me cry.

I think what I loved so much about this, ultimately, is how it's a story about grief, about love, and about knowing your own worth, yet it's quiet about all of the above. There are no massive deaths or revolutionary moments. It's just Adam, navigating the world with the hand he's been dealt. I've read both Woolf and Blume and I felt both influences so much in this novel, but I love how Ness did his own thing with those inspirations and created something so beautifully strange and lovely.

There's one line that stuck with me so hard, that I know will never leave my head:

"Don't leave me unloved."

It's funny how words can do that. How that sentence touched me, deep in my soul, and for that, I will always be immensely grateful for this book.

Feb 12, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. The characters felt very authentic and I especially liked the relationship between Adam and his best friend Angela. I also really liked the juxtaposition between Adam's chapters which were more realistic and the queen's chapters which were kind of dark fantasy, and then seeing the two kind of come together and intertwine.

I did think that some of it was pretty explicit for a YA novel.

JCLChrisK Jul 07, 2018

A wonderfully authentic day in the life of a young man whose struggles all come to a head at the same time. Most of those conflicts dwell in the realm of love, whether family, friendship, romance, or even loveless attraction. His heart is broken in many different ways, mended in others, and almost entirely transformed as he is forced to discover just who he is. It's a powerful exploration of humanness.

Intertwined with Adam's story is a smaller, shorter one that, I believe, is meant to mirror his. Like many others, I had trouble seeing the connections on my initial reading. It didn't work for me, and I feel I must have missed something that should have added even more depth and meaning instead of seeming like an unnecessary distraction. Perhaps later I'll have time to go back and give it a closer look. For now, it comes across as a flaw.

LoganLib_Kirra Feb 25, 2018

Release was such an interesting and moving story told from the perspective of a teenage boy at a crossroad and another perspective of a recently deceased teenage girl from the same town now in a mythical queen’s body with a mystical fawn following her around. Yeah, it’s a little different. I have no idea what this other storyline was on about with the dead girl and the queen and I’m not sure if you’re meant to “get it” but the ending sort of gave an explanation to the bigger picture that was really awesome. In one moment everything can click into place and suddenly the decisions you were waging war on just make sense. I loved the journey this book took and the main character took through just one day and it was all about how everything can change in just a moment.

Nov 01, 2017

Characters and dialog like one would find in a slightly over dramatic movie. There's a parallel paranormal plot which isn't necessary to the story and can be skipped.

bandblair Oct 23, 2017

Ness is just so incredibly talented. The teenagers are written in such a realistic way. A little mythical as well.

Jul 01, 2017

Well written with sensitivity and empathy, Release deals with all the angst surrounding teenage relationships as answers and solutions are sought.


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