Release

by Patrick Ness

Teeange Adam Thorn’s conservative parents refuse to acknowledge that Adam is... read more

Teeange Adam Thorn’s conservative parents refuse to acknowledge that Adam is gay, and Adam is biding his time until he finishes high school and can leave his small town. His best friend, Angela, and her parents, and his boyfriend, Linus, provide support and humor and affirmation and solace in his life. Against his better judgment, Adam tells his preacher father about the ongoing sexual harassment he’s faced from his boss, Wade. He does so on a day when Wade has gone from implicit to overt coercion, making clear Adam’s job is at risk if he doesn’t have sex with him. He does so following a moment in which he and his dad have genuinely connected and it feels possible. But Adam’s world feels at risk of unraveling when his dad suggests Adam led Wade on, and then confesses how hard he has to work at loving Adam. It’s a gut-wrenching moment, one that underscores the importance of everyone else in Adam’s life who’s there to hold him up. A gripping novel set over the course of a single day punctuated by flashbacks juggles several other elements of Adam’s life as well as an interstitial story about the ghost of a girl recently murdered by her boyfriend who’s in search of revenge. Ness acknowledges a debt to Judy Blume and Forever in his note following a story that is exceptional for multiple reasons, including its sexual and emotional frankness and honesty. (Age 15 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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