Author: Patrick Ness
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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 want to thank Walker UK for sending an ARC copy of this book my way!
Patrick Ness has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and I was certain that I’d love everything he wrote, because so far, I had. A Monster Calls broke my heart, More Than This had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and The Rest Of Us Just Live here meant a lot to me personally because of the OCD rep. However, this book made me realize that I was quite wrong.
Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic. I didn’t *hate* this book or anything, I just didn’t like it as much as his other books. Let me try to explain why.
I feel very conflicted about the writing style in this book. It felt very heavy, almost as if I was reading a classic. Every time I picked it up I felt different about it. The first time I loved it, the second and third time I really didn’t like it and got bored after only a few pages, the fourth time I didn’t care for it that much, and the fifth time I really enjoyed it and finished the rest of the book (which was about half of it) in one sitting. But even though I didn’t always love it, there were some lines in this book that were so beautiful that they took my breath away.
The book, at it’s core, was very very good. It talked about so many hard things (being gay in a very religious household, how you can hate yourself a little bit because you’re not straight, your first break-up, etc.) in such a delicate, but hard-hitting way, and it was done so incredibly well.
I also really liked how this book handled it’s m/m sex scenes. It wasn’t very smutty, it wasn’t his first, it wasn’t full of YA cliches (“Kissing him was different. Rough. His LI smelled like sports and cars and he could feel the three-day-stubble on his cheek” etc etc), it just felt very (in lack of a better word) real, but also very vulnerable. And I loved it.
Despite all this, I couldn’t help feeling a bit bored from time to time. This is that kind of book that’s all about the characters. There’s not a lot happening, and because the book takes place in a day everything that does happen is kind of drawn out, and there are a lot of flashbacks. But despite that causing a bit of boredom, it also caused me to feel incredibly close to the main character, which in turn made the story really come to life.
Release kind of did the same thing as The Rest of Us Just Live Here, in the way that you were reading 2 stories at once. In The Rest of Us Just Live here, you followed the chosen one’s, and in Release, you followed a ghost and a faun. While I loved this in The Rest, I really disliked it in Release. The ghost-story was written in such a difficult and confusing way that I couldn’t understand what was happening, no matter how many times I reread those pages. So, halfway through, I decided to skip them altogether. And I started liking the book a lot more once I made that decision.
So overall, there are things that I loved about Release, but there are also quite a few things that I didn’t enjoy that much. If you like character-driven stories, I’d definitely recommend this to you, but if you like more ‘adventurous’ reads, maybe pick up More Than This instead.