Book Review: Release (Patrick Ness)

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 287

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.


It’s no secret that I’m a huge Patrick Ness fan and I was incredibly grateful to receive a proof copy of Release. I’m always so happy to get proofs but for one of my favourite authors, it felt even more special. Massive thanks to Walker Books for the copy!

Release follows one day in the life of Adam Thorn, a gay teenager from a religious family with a pervy boss, a wonderful boyfriend and best friend, and a guy who once broke his heart. We see him move between these people in his life as they day takes unexpected turns with news, confrontations and revelations. Alongside this, there’s a kind of odd, magical realism story happening about a ghost, whose quest for release touches Adam’s day.

Patrick Ness just writes YA so well. Adam is a character I could read so much about, it’s kind of sad we only get to see one day in his life. It shows the kind of things a young gay teen can come up against, especially when coming from a very religious family. Adam struggles with comparisons to his brother, who is infinitely better than him because he’s definitely straight, whereas the family have a worried question mark hanging over Adam. It’s so sad to see religion get in the way of their relationships, especially when it makes Adam question if his love is true love, or if he’s even capable of true love.

There were a few terrible things that happened to Adam throughout the day and it really made me feel for him and root for him. He received blow after blow and I couldn’t help but feel angry on his behalf, or blink back tears at some scenes. Ness’s writing is just beautifully sad and each scene tugged at the old emotions in one way or another.

The storyline with the Queen, the spirit and the faun were a bit harder to follow. While I enjoyed them, it’s the kind of thing that I always worry I’m not getting, that it’s too deep for me to understand and I’m only reading it on some shallow level. I tried not to worry about that and just enjoyed it for what it was, and I loved the way everything came together at the end. It was a perfect moment and made me smile.

To criticise, I really want to know what happens to Adam next! There are so many questions around his future and I want to see where he goes, how he deals with the obstacles this book threw up, if his parents can put everything aside and love him for who he is. It’s frustrating not to know, but it shows what a wonderful character he’s created for me to care so much.

This is another winner from Patrick Ness. He constantly surprises me with the books he writes: they’re all so different from each other, but all written with beautiful prose and compelling characters. This is a wonderful addition to my Patrick Ness collection and I hope you all enjoy it too.

 Copy of an art exhibit

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