A List of Cages
by Robin Roe
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.
Julian was always being ridiculed because of his learning condition – a disability no one knew of and no one even cared about. Being a dyslexic, he really had a hard time with his studies and often found himself sitting alone in his secret place. When his parents died, he was taken by a foster family but soon he was taken by his evil uncle Russell, who abused and tortured him with a switch and put him in a trunk. Julian’s life was hell.
Adam, who was once Julian’s foster brother, was diagnosed with ADHD and always had a hard time keeping still and silent. When Julian was assigned to him in school, they became friends again and he even introduced him to his own peers, which consisted of Emerald, Camille, Matt, Jesse and Charlie. (Oh Charlie was such a great character, he was the bully that you’d love to hate and hate to love, and I love him so much!)
Adam knew Julian was keeping secrets from him. Deadly secrets. And he was hellbent on discovering this secret, no matter how dangerous it could get.
There’s no dry spot on my handkerchief after reading this book. All of my tears poured out of my eyes, my heart shattering into pieces. Julian and Adam are two broken souls, physically, emotionally, mentally. A List of Cages is a hard-hitting drama that would haunt you even in your sleep.
Honestly, with all the pain and hurt I’ve felt in this book, I don’t even want to review it. God knows I could never do it justice to the suffering that Julian had experienced. God.. I can’t help but wail when I see him in that trunk.. in that shell… in that cage. How could somebody be so cruel and evil and monstrous to this little angel?
Robin Roe’s writing was poignant, raw and masterful and had mentally overwhelmed me. This isn’t something you’ll likely forget in weeks. This story will leave a mark to the reader and would move even the most insensitive person into tears.
As a precaution, when you get to read this, prepare a nebulizer at hand, because this will surely leave you breathless.