My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Patrick Ness delivers another engaging and relatable read with Release, a book I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of during BookCon. The story has what amounts to two storylines. One follows Adam, a boy who is struggling with his very religious parents, because he is gay and his parents aren’t even disapproving. They’re actively ignoring it. The other follows an otherworldly spirit that has found herself tangled with the ghost of a dead girl from Adam’s town.
Ness does a wonderful job of taking us through the day Adam’s life changes, a roller coaster of emotions that leaves Adam’s world in an uproar. We feel with him, fear with him, anger with him, love with him. Adam is a likeable character, even in his mistakes. We want him to see his way through his trials. His supporting characters are either lovable or horrifying, in a way that we all know from our every day lives. Adam is dealing with real world issues, and in that, dealing with real people with real challenges.
The spirit is a bit more difficult to nail down, for her entire quest is an unraveling mystery. And it is the fact of this diverging storyline, while they come together in an interesting way, that caused me to knock this book down to four stars. In such a relatable story, this paranormal side story feels a bit out of place.
Despite this, Ness’ prose is always beautiful, and the story construction and flow of the storyline will keep you reading for hours. This is a must-read.