Review: A List of Cages, Robin Roe

It’s funny. I read this book a little bit ago, and now that I’m sitting and really thinking about it again, I feel all of the emotions over again. This review won’t be as long as usual, because to be honest it’s hard to describe a book like this. I think the most appropriate thing to say is, READ THIS.



β€œThis part is hardest. A billion years of evolution tells your cells to run. But you can’t run. You have to turn around and face the desert wall. You have to be still. He doesn’t care if you cry, but you can’t fight.”

Before you want to get into this, you should be aware of the trigger warning here: (SPOILER) child abuse (/SPOILER). This was no easy read. If I’m being honest, I read the three quarters of this book with a lump in my throat. This is the story of Adam and Julian, two high school boys who lived together for a few years after Julian’s parents died, and until his uncle came back to take care of him. Or something like that, let’s say, because these aren’t the right words. Their lives grow apart for a few years, until they collide again…at the right moment. That book is a contemporary, but it’s one that screams out loud. It’s one that makes you grab the pages in anticipation, while the lump in your throat just grows and grows and cut your breath away. This wasn’t an easy read, but it made me highly emotional. If anything, this is for me the sign of the power of this book.



“He’s only four years younger than me, but I feel so much older, or maybe he feels so much younger. I used to think struggle was what aged you, but if that were the case, Julian should’ve been a hundred years old. Now I wonder if the opposite is true. Maybe instead of accelerating your age, pain won’t let you grow.”

Told from a dual point of view, we get to meet Adam, and Julian. Both characters are very different and their voices stood out, which I appreciated. Both felt real and genuine. Adam has ADHD, and it was my first time reading about this, which was very interesting. Moreover, it didn’t feel stigmatized or clichΓ© or anything, it just felt real and part of his life, his mother’s life, which I really appreciated. It wasn’t here to make a point, it was just here because it was part of the character. Adam was so refreshing to read about. He was always positive, always trying to help, which made me want to hug him basically all the time.
Julian, on the other side…well, I just wanted to hug him forever. When you feel like hugging the characters in a story, I’m guessing that’s a good sign, isn’t it? Julian is such a good character, yet he goes through so, so much. It’s heartbreaking to read about, and I just wanted him to be okay. He was so endearing, I quickly grew attached to him.



“It’s strange how many ways there are to miss someone. You miss the things they did and who they were, but you also miss who you were with them. The way everything you said and did was beautiful or entertaining or important. How much you mattered.”

A List of Cages definitely was a surprise. I started this book with no expectations at all, I kind of stumbled into it on NetGalley and decided to give it a try, and boy, I’m glad I did. I really am. I thought I wouldn’t feel too much. I thought it would be good, but nothing exceptional. But that book was different. At times, I wanted to stop reading, take a break, because everything happening just felt overwhelming and it was too much. But I couldn’t. The story was gripping, and the writing style was gorgeous, making me feel everything for the characters. It was a highly emotional, powerful, beautiful book. The subject is nothing easy to read about, let me warn you. But if you’re feeling okay with this, give it a try. Despite my discomfort about this, at times, I still ended up loving it, and I hope you will too.

Biggest thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free digital copy of this book. This did not, in any way, affect my opinion on this. All quotes are taken from the early copy of the book.

Final rating:Β  4 drops!

Β Do you want to read A List of Cages? Share your thoughts in comments!

Robin Roe, A List of Cages, Β Published by Disney Hyperion, January 10th 2017.

Β goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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.

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43 thoughts on “Review: A List of Cages, Robin Roe

  1. This is like the number one book on my 2017 releases TBR! I was so excited just now when I refreshed and saw this review for it, haha. I cannot wait to read this, and seeing yet another amazing review for it makes me even more excited.

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  2. When you cannot say much about a review, that says a lot. I’m so excited for this book! I know it will probably be a hard book to read, but from what I’ve been reading, it will also be worth it.
    So glad you’ve enoyed it. There’s something admirable when books stay with you like that, when they make you wanna hug its characters, as you’ve said.
    Cannot wait to read it, great review πŸ˜‰

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  3. This book was wonderful! I’m so happy that you like it! (I don’t really want to say enjoyed it because it was not a completely enjoyable read. It was difficult at times to keep reading because you are scared for the characters). Awesome review!

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  4. I saw this book featured on a WoW post recently and the cover immediately caught my eye. It sounded interesting as well but I said I was going to wait and check out some reviews before deciding whether to add it to my to-read list. Well you’re review has convinced me I need to add this book to my to-read list immediately! πŸ˜€
    It sounds amazing and the fact that you were still feeling the emotions even a little while after you read it is a huge draw for me as well! I hope I enjoy this book as much as you did Marie. Great review! ❀

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  5. This book sounds so good, Marie! I had seen it around on NetGalley too but decided not to request it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it… but from your review, it sounds like I should’ve. I really like these emotional contemporaries, even though I don’t often have the heart to really read through them. I’m glad to hear that you liked this book and hope to pick it up when it releases. πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh I think you could love this book, Reg. It’s something you have to be emotionally ready for, it was heavy and intense at times, but a beautiful and needed story, I think. I was glad to read it. I hope you’ll read it one day and like it as much as I did πŸ™‚


  6. The more reviews I read for this book the more I want to it. It sounds like a really potent and powerful read. I always love those contemporaries that grip me in an emotional sense. I sit there reading with tears in my eyes asking myself why but I love it nonetheless. They’re always the most memorable reads, I feel. This one is definitely on my TBR for this year and I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to get around to it soon. Great review, Marie! πŸ’•πŸ˜Š

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  7. Wow, lots of emotions here! πŸ™‚ Reading about this subject is never easy but I feel it should be experienced because it is far from being erased from the surface of the earth. But you gonna be ready for such an emotional and intense read!

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