Reviewed by EL de Jesus
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By Patrick Ness
288 pp. HarperTeen.
Sometimes, the best stories are found not through words in writing, but through the words spoken by a friend. That’s just what Patrick Ness achieves in his newest masterpiece, Release. The novel was written in such a way that was intimate, yet it manages to hold back in all the right moments, much like one does with their friends.
Release focuses on the lead character Adam Thorn and the struggles he faces within his family, his faith, his friendship, love, and ultimately himself. What I liked about it most was how real it was, and how his struggles seemed like it could be something someone in your life is also worried about. It’s relatable, in one way or another, and that’s what makes it so effective.
Adam’s family is the perfect setting to explore his thoughts—or lack of it—for the pressures they impose on their son. Of course, his sassy sarcasm is always an interesting thing to encounter as well. Then there’s Enzo, an extra (emphasis on the ex) to the situation of his already cloudy heart. Which again, seems far too realistic to be a work of art. Now couple that with his best friend, Angela’s quirky point of view and dialogue, then you have yourself a pretty cool lead.
Finally, there’s the Queen, in all of her vengeful glory. It’s very interesting how the story was written to support her quest, how the faun follows her as she sets and follows her own trail as she struggles to find her memory, reality, and identity. The shifts between both storylines adds an extra layer of fiction, as it alternated with the reality of Adam’s narrative. The build-up was pretty climatic, as the shifts between these two turned shorter and shorter until eventually, it all meshed into one.
Overall, I admired the courage Patrick Ness had in order to discuss topics that aren’t really easy to work with. It was a refreshing take and I’d recommend this 10/10. If anything, I found my release in here.
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EL de Jesus is a notorious book sniffer whose writing is littered across messy notebooks, literary publications, and his white-walled room. When not in writing, this self-proclaimed old-person-in-a-boy’s-body does art, creates a dozen photo series, and makes mixtapes with those cheesy covers. He has four dogs and two cats.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]