Bee Reviews A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe // Boring at First, Then Intense AF

Posted January 6, 2017 by Bee in Reviews / 9 Comments

Bee Reviews A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe // Boring at First, Then Intense AF

A List of Cages

by Robin Roe
Published on January 10th 2017
by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Goodreads

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3.5 Stars

Trigger Warning: Physical (= violence) & Mental Abuse. Do not read if you’re sensitive to these things.

This is a really tough book to review. Or to rate for that matter. I know that when you’re reading this you can see my rating already. But as of right now, when I’m writing it, I still have no idea how to rate it. Because for the longest time this looked like it’d be a 3-star read. It wasn’t bad… but it also wasn’t great either to me. But then the second half amped things up to eleven and it was intense as all hell. So now I have no idea where I’m at anymore. Maybe I should follow my wise ruler Cait’s example and make a list. Because lists solve all your problems, obviously. So here goes.


I liked the friendship between Lucian and Adam. It felt very genuine to me and it was just very nice to see them reconnect and get better friends throughout the book. I love great friendships in books so I’m glad this one was done well and it was the heart of the story really. So yay friendship!

I liked the characters themselves. Of course I hated Lucian’s uncle with the passion of a million suns, but I’m supposed to so that’s great. If you don’t hate him, I’ll be very worried about your sanity. But I liked all the others. Especially Charlie, Adam, Lucian and Adam’s mom.

♦ Lucian reminded me a bit of a character of one of my own projects and I liked that! Because that character of mine is one of my most precious darlings and though their lives and stuff are very different, they had the same quiet, shy, adorable thing going on. They’re both the type of character you just want to wrap in warm blankets and cuddle and keep safe. I very much wanted to do that with Lucian. He’s so precious and sweet and I just want to protect him from harm, poor thing.

I also liked how Adam was the opposite of Lucian but they still worked very well as friends. Adam is this very bright, energetic, caring and sweet guy. He’s often silly and he has ADHD and sometimes he does stupid things in this book like neglecting his best friend Charlie but I still cared about him so much because he has such a big heart. He’s like a ray of sunshine and I just really liked him a lot.

♦ And lastly, I liked that it didn’t shy away from the tough things. This book got really intense and super heartbreaking at times and the author didn’t shy away from anything and went full-out with it. Which I appreciate, even though it was greatly upsetting and maybe even triggering for some people. This book should definitely come with a trigger warning. For sure. But the whole second half was SO intense and so engaging and I found myself finishing it in one sitting because I just HAD to know how it would end.


♦ Okay so the beginning was super confusing to me. The pacing and plot felt all over the place and I had no idea what was going on. Yes, that did get better eventually and I’m glad I kept reading, but I still have no idea why the beginning was so confusing. Maybe it’s just me though.

I was bored a whole lot in the first half of the book. I was interested in the story and I liked the characters and all, but overall I was very bored at first.

I also wished I could’ve gotten to know the other characters more. Because while I liked them, the only ones that got some developement are Adam, Lucian and Charlie a little bit. But even Charlie I didn’t get to know as much as I wanted to. I didn’t really know the others. Which made me sad.

♦ Due to this, the romance also fell a bit flat to me. I didn’t really know Emerald and her romance with Adam came a bit out of nowhere and felt more like a plot device than anything else. I never really bought it. I didn’t see what its purpose was in the end. If it had been left out, I don’t think the book would’ve changed at all. Maybe it would’ve been better. Not every book needs romance. This one would’ve been better off without it. In my opinion.

So in the end… A List of Cages is a very tough book to read at times. It’s heartbreaking and intense, but occasionally also very sweet and Adam and Lucian’s genuine, normal friendship is the heart of the story. So should you read it? Yes. Provided you won’t be triggered by the aforementioned tough parts, you absolutely should check it out.


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9 responses to “Bee Reviews A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe // Boring at First, Then Intense AF

  1. I love love love books with friendship as one of the main themes, and this book sounded so amazing when I first heard about it! I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t quite everything you had hoped for, though. Sometimes you end up reading a book you like, but then you don’t like certain parts of it and it makes it so difficult to rate…it can be hard to be fair without feeling like you’re not giving it a high enough rating. Still, I think you did an awesome job reviewing it!

  2. I have a strong preference for books where the main focus is on developing a strong friendship but unfortunately it sounds like it got off to a rocky start. I think YA authors can tend to throw in a romance to please readers when most would probably just prefer a solid storyline. Sorry you could have enjoyed this one a little more Bee, but wonderful review!

  3. I finished this one recently, and I agree, it was a tough one to rate! I did love the focus on friendship, and the book was definitely heartbreaking at times. But, like you, I found myself a bit bored through the first half of the book, and I was never sold on the romance between Adam and Emerald, either. Great review, Bee!

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