Releaseby Patrick Ness
Published on September 19th 2017
Genres: Adolescence, LGBT, Paranormal, Young Adult
B&N | Goodreads
Also by this author: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, The Knife Of Never Letting Go
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.
I can’t remember a book that has both broken my heart yet kept it alive with anger and frustration. Come to think of it, I don’t think that’s ever happened until Release. One minute I was slowly sucking in air to control my anger. The next, I was on the verge of bawling. Release is a poignant read that had so many things I loved (even when I was crying) and things I wished had more explanation.
Patrick Ness proves his phenomenal range as a writer with Release. This is, essentially, two stories in one novel. The first is one day of Adam Thorn’s life, and it’s proof that a lot can happen in a day. There is the constant disapproval of his evangelical family he has to deal with. There’s the sexual harassment from Wade, his supervisor at work, which is relevant with all that is going on now. There’s the heartache he’s carrying after Enzo, the boy he was falling for, ended their relationship suddenly.
Adam’s experiences are written in a straightforward yet hard-hitting way. I wanted to give him a hug so many times. Heartbreak is never easy. No one should deal with sexual harassment. His family, especially his parents, are awful. Conditionally loving their son, telling them his love for another boy isn’t real–and Adam wondering if that’s true–had me crying. That this happens in real life makes it all the more heartbreaking. But Adam does have family with his friend Angela, who is awesome, and possible new love with Linus. Most importantly, he realizes that, when it comes down to it all, he can heal, and that is the most worthwhile. His story stayed with me weeks after I finished reading it.
The second story revolves around the ghost of a girl who died under horrific circumstances. While this in itself could have been its own novel, Ness includes it here. This story, unfortunately, bogs down the whole book. I’m not sure what it has to do with Adam. I have my theories as to what this plot is, but from what I’ve seen from other reviewers, they’re as confused by it as I am.
Regardless, Release is a haunting read. While it does have a minor misstep, it’s one worth reading.