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Maya, Ashmole Academy


Release is a novel that combines coming of age with realistic fantasy by Patrick Ness. He touches on ideas of homophobia, love, friends and the inevitability of growing up, from the eyes of a teenage boy on a fateful Saturday.

Release occurs over the course of a single day from the point of view of two characters: Adam Thorne, the long suffering gay son of a football player turned preacher, and the other, the Faun, the mystical fairy servant of the Queen - a strange spirit with mysterious abilities who rises from the lake following the death of Katherine van Leuwen who was drowned. Through these two opposing stories we experience two very different stories of a titular release. I loved the dialogue in this book; its realism and smooth flow only serve to grease the parts of the plot that live together in the small American town of Frome, Washington, the characters that is. From Angela, the Korean adoptee who is Adam's best friend; to Marty, Adam's blonde handsome brother who can seemingly do no wrong; to Adam's father Brian, the conservative man of faith who keeps Adam held tight under his metaphorical 'Yoke'. They are so human in so many ways, so that even when they surprise you, as each one will do during these twenty four hours, that in itself does not surprise you. Humans have the quality of being predictably unpredictable. We spend so much time with Adam in his thoughts and dreams and memories and we can relate to him in a sense - not because we are similar to him but because we all experience the pain of growing up and the situations he describes that we also experience at some point in our lives. When Ness confronts us with the unrestrained thoughts of a boy on a very significant day, we can relate to our own days when we may have felt the struggle of growing up much like Adam does. And when the two separate stories of boy and spirit finally converge, we experience who Adam is from the outside, albeit from a rather unusual perspective. This in turn collapses all we have experienced with Adam and the person that he is to a more unreadable figure, merely a boy. It serves as a reminder of the nature of time and our own insignificance but also reminds us how many other people are out there who also experience thousands of other days that we may disregard. Release is an incredible book on the nature of growing up and restrictions and pain but also finding happiness through the most unexpected circumstances.

"They're your parents. They're meant to love you because. Never in spite."

Posted on: 21st May 2018 at 10:14 pm

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