Release Review

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Rating: 4/5
Source: Amazon

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. 

Release is full of things I liked. Adam, his handsome brother, his fluid best friend, the work friends and the short boyfriend. There's also plenty I didn't like (in the complimentary sense). The overfamiliar boss, the douchebag first love, the preachy preacher and the chrysanthemum nazi. Patrick Ness was covered a lot in this book, which was something I wasn't expecting since it's not a particularly daunting read at less than three hundred pages. 

Preachy preacher and chrysanthemum nazi, or mum and dad, are your typical repressive religious parents, the 'gay is not the way' sort and they've done a good job at helping convince their son that he doesn't deserve any sort of real love. Adam's boss makes being gay feel like some sort of dirty welcome sign to older men and even the handsome brother doesn't believe 'gay love' is real love. Throw in Adam's first love turning straight, all of this makes life pretty difficult for Adam Thorn. 

He has friends and pretty well liked in general but his best friend Angela is his real saving grace. She's the sort of person you'd always want around, she tells Adam how it is consistently throughout the book and their relationship is so in sync it's like they were made to be friends. Also in Adam's court is Linus, the secret boyfriend with an amazing arse. Like with Angela, Adam's relationship with Linus is so pure that you can tell that, at least at this point in their lives, they are meant to be. 

We get to see a lot of their relationship, it was really refreshing to read about sex in a book where the sex isn't reduced to teenage hormones, and doing it just because it's been a few months and that's the where they are in their relationship. It's about Adam's need for an emotional connection as much as it is the physical, something that is often lacking from teenage relationships in YA novels. 

I would have given Release a perfect score if it wasn't for the second storyline running on alongside the one about Adam.

Maybe I'm not intelligent enough to understand the subtle beauty of the Queen and the Faun's story (highly possible), or I'm ignorant to what it added to Adam's terrible, horrible no good, very bad day. I personally think that Adam's story is enough, I found myself reading the queen's story very quickly, eager to get back to the main event and again, maybe I did miss something in doing this. 

Don't get me wrong, the second story isn't so subtle that I completely missed that it is also a one of release, but to me it seemed like a metaphor that wasn't needed. It almost felt as if there was this second unrelated plot going on, until the last couple of pages when you finally click and ohhhh. I could have still done without it, instead having another hundred pages about what happens between Adam and his family following his coming out. Though that would probably be better suited for a second book called 'Closure'. 

I always love Patrick Ness' work and Release was no exception. I may not be giving it a perfect score but there is so much good to be taken from this book. I'd recommend this book now especially if you want something else to read before the end of pride month, but also just because I think a lot of young adults out there, not just those in the LGBTQ+ community, will find at least one way to relate to Release. There are some darker themes in the book too, so read at your own discretion.

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