Saturday, November 19, 2016

Kid Konnection: A List of Cages & Giveaway

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a touching young adult book that is getting rave reviews!

Summary: 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.

First-time novelist Robin Roe relied on life experience when writing this exquisite, gripping story featuring two lionhearted characters. -- Disney-Hyperion

I am so excited to share with a new young adult novel titled A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe. It's not available until January 10, 2017, but it's never too early to talk about a book this special. And special it is! I don't read as much YA as I'd like, but A LIST OF CAGES encompasses what I love best about this genre. It's a touching story about friendship with two very special characters!

A LIST OF CAGES tells the story of two boys -- Adam, a popular senior in high school who also has ADHD and Julian, a freshman who has had a difficult past. Adam is excited to be an aide to the school psychologist, mainly because it's an easy elective. However, one day he is asked to find a boy who hasn't been keeping his meetings with the psychologist. Adam is both surprised and happy to discover that he already knows the boy. Surprise -- it's Julian, the foster brother who Adam hasn't seen for years.

In many ways, Julian is still the same young boy that Adam knew and loved. Adam takes Julian under his wing and encourages the youngster. He even introduces him to his friends. However, Adam notices that Julian is acting odd (odder than normal), and he suspects that Julian is hiding something. Being the nice kid that he is, Adam is determined to help Julian -- not knowing that discovering the truth might have detrimental affects on both of them!

I really enjoyed A LIST OF CAGES. It's an extremely touching story with friendship as the central theme. I loved the messages in this novel, but I also have to admit that the story just about broke my heart. This novel isn't always easy to read and it will make you uncomfortable at times, but it's so worth it. I really can't recommend this novel enough to teens!

One of my absolute favorite things about this book is the characters. Adam and Julian are both incredible kids in very different ways, and I guarantee they will embed themselves into your heart. (You will also think about both of them long after finishing the pages of this novel.) Adam is an extremely mature kid and very loyal; and I absolutely loved how he took a troubled Julian under his wing. And Julian... Julian is just a great kid whose experienced more in his 14 years than any kid should ever have to.

I absolutely loved how well Ms. Roe brought Adam and Julian to life. She made them extremely real to me; and as a result, I felt as if I knew them. I think that's what made this book so special to me. I could feel the pain these two characters were feeling as well as their moments of happiness. I became so vested in their lives and I honestly cared about what happened to them... even though they were just fictional characters.

Another wonderful thing about A LIST OF CAGES was how it portrayed friendship. Adam and Julian most certainly had a special relationship, and it just epitomized how important friendship can be... for all of us. I think we all have gone through a difficult time in our life when we have depended on a friend to help us through it. And goodness knows, Adam certainly was "there" for Julian when he needed him the most!

I don't want to get into politics ever on my blog -- this is my happy place -- but there was one sentence in this book that really resonated to me:

"Hate ricochets, but so does kindness."

I LOVE THIS and I found it especially meaningful over the past ten days or so. There is just so much anger in our country right now -- on both sides, and it makes me so discouraged. However, this one quote, six small words, made me feel hopeful. If we all just try to do some small acts of kindness (they don't have to be a huge as Julian's), maybe it will "ricochet"... and eventually kindness will overwhelm all of the hate. It's worth a shot, and I know I'd rather be hit with kindness any day than all of this anger!

I do think A LIST OF CAGES would be a terrific book club selection for teens. In fact, this book would be great for a classroom discussion too! There are so many relevant themes for today's teens including friendship, loyalty, abuse, secrets, loss, grief, second chances, and compassion. 

Overall, I think A LIST OF CAGES is an outstanding read. It's certainly accumulating a lot of starred reviews and deservedly so! Highly recommended.

Official Links + Social Media
Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram
Follow Robin Roe on Twitter

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for providing a review copy of this novel.

Giveaway alert: I have two copies of A LIST OF CAGES to share with one lucky reader and their friend courtesy of the publisher. To enter, just fill  out the form below before December 2nd at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

A grabbed a copy of this at SIBA and totally forgot about it. I'm glad you reviewed it because it sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read it now.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Wow, you are absolutely raving about this one! You've got me real curious about it now. I've added it to my TBR list. Books about friendships and their strength always resonate well with me.

Stacie said...

I'd love to have this one for our kids to read. Thanks for gushing about it and for the link up!