RELEASE – Review by Eleanor, Wren Academy

releaseRelease is about a boy called Adam Thorn who is a gay teenager but struggles to find himself as his parents are strong Christians. But will his parents let go of the fact that Adam is not an ordinary Christian kid?!

When Adam starts his day he knew it was going to bad but not even Adam knew it would get as bad as it did. To start the day off he had been invited to his ex-boyfriend’s leaving party and was contemplating whether to go as he had heard rumours that he now had a GIRLFRIEND!!…… (But he’s with Linus now; he’s over Enso isn’t he?) As this day goes from bad to worse he then finds out that his big brother got a girl pregnant and he only knows her from Christian summer camp! Things start to go from bad to worse. As it becomes the worst day of his life, Adam is stuck thinking what else could go wrong – well did he know that there was a lot more to come! His lifelong friend Angela is leaving the city (who will he have now who actually understands him when she’s gone?) Will Adam survive until sunset?

The other part to Release is the dialogue of a girl called Katie who is dead and thirsty for revenge. As she becomes queen to her fantasy faun, she embarks on a mission to release herself from the past but will she ever be freed from the troubles of her past? As she starts her mission to find the person to release her see goes from place to place to help her remember why she is here and why she died.

However, the more she visits the places that were once home and the people that were once in her life she starts to remember that she was not always welcome in this world and that maybe she didn’t make the best choices in her life (when she was alive!). Then she comes to the final person, her killer, her lover, her boyfriend. He starts crying but nothing is happening. Why am I not being released from this world? But if it isn’t him who will release me who will?

I really like Release as Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and I really like the way he wrote Release it is really interesting to have the dialogue from Katie and the story from Adam. I have to say I preferred the story of Adam’s journey being a gay teenager living in a Christian world. You only really understand Katie’s dialogue half way the book. Overall, I found the book really easy and interesting to read, I would give this book 4 and a half stars.


RELEASE – Review by Larissa, Wren Academy

releaseRelease felt like it was two books in one. At first, I didn’t understand how they were not linked as one was about Adam Thorne who had relationship problems to deal with, a horrible incident at work, and a glimmer of hope. And there was a murdered girl who had risen from the lake and spirit was floating around mingling with spirit queens.

The two stories overlapped at the end in such an interesting way. I personally found the ghost girl one more interesting as I wanted to hear about her past and why she ended up in the lake. As I read throughout the story of the spirit I found it so engaging reading how she ended up dead.

Adam’s life was complicated and he had lots of arguments with his father who was a Christian and believed in god. Adam is gay and this book included lot of sexual references. It was very realistic as it linked to real life problems that everyday people have. I think this book is about a few things: , heartbreak, brotherhood, friendship, acceptance, and realizing blood doesn’t mean family. This book would be recommended for 12+ and mostly for teens to read.

RELEASE – Review by Angelina, Wren Academy

releaseI have very mixed feelings about Release, due to the mix of two different stories alternating each chapter: a day in the life for Adam Thorn, a gay teenager and a strange mythical, ghost story about spirits. To very honest I felt the addition of the spirit story did nothing to benefit the book and although it added to a great ending I found myself skipping past this part in this story to continue reading about Adam. The additional spirit story was irrelevant, boring, and time wasting for me, which was a real shame as I really enjoyed the rest of the book!  “The faun wishes to tell her, tell her that she is caught, his Queen, snagged and bound by a frightened soul. He needs to tell her that she is in danger of becoming lost forever, but he cannot. He can only look at the sun, less than an hour from its midday peak. The faun is worried. The faun is very worried.”

Adams parents and brother were not at all supportive of his sexuality, calling it “fake love”. The pressure they put upon him plays a large role in the story and how he seeks freedom in best friend Angela Darlington.

I would recommend this book to older teenagers and young adults who are looking for a heavy hitting book that makes you think. I would rate this book 6/10 overall due to the additional story of spirits (I would rate Adam’s story 9/10).

REMIX – Review by Hana, Copthall School

remixThis story revolves around the Remix Music Festival, two best friends and decisions. When Ruby and Kaz obtain tickets to the Remix, it seems like life couldn’t be better. However, that is far from the truth. Instead of having the weekend of their lives the damaging past catches up with them. This comes in the form of ex-boyfriends spelling trouble for both girls.

As the weekend proceeds events both bad and good develop threatening in particular their friendship. One of the most interesting characters is Ruby, this is because despite her careless behaviour she is thoughtful and wants what’s best for her best friend, Kaz. Kaz ,who despite being miserable over her ex, realises that there are much more important things in life and that life moves on bringing new events along with it that can be for the best. A fascinating part of the story is when both girls learn to value their friendship above all else. I give this book a 6/10 rating. The reason why is because of its inadequate context and strong language. However, despite these faulty qualities the book is seductive and discusses real-life dilemmas and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys novels based on friendship and the different relationships between people.

RELEASE – Review by Trinity, Copthall School

releaseThis novel is simply beautiful from every angle. With elements of agony, love and coming of age, Release is a passionate, rich and heartfelt story that’s definitely worth reading. As is the theme of most of Ness’ previous novels, such as ‘More Than This’, Release presents us with a unique protagonist with a problem that intertwines with an unexpected side-plot and unpredictable characters. We’re immediately introduced to Adam Thorn, a troubled, confused and heartbroken teenager who’s just getting to grips with how the world works. His charismatic and witty friend Angela contributes to the story, acting as my most likeable character. As I read further into this wonderful novel, I quickly understood the situation (or situations) Adam was in and immediately loved the book. Touching on perhaps the most important but ignored topics of our generation, Patrick Ness gives us a valued and insightful view on coming of age and discovering your identity. Yet, it wasn’t just this inspiring plot that caught my attention. Ness also managed to merge this already fabulous story with a completely unpredictable but intriguing sub-plot involving a deceased girl out for revenge, a questionable faun and a lost Queen. Release truly is a most marvellously constructed book.

Every corner of Release holds a memorable or touching moment, but I particularly appreciated the wonderful scene where Adam gives a meaningful speech to Linus, who reciprocated in a simply sublime manner. Adam was desperately struggling with his troublesome relationships between his father, ex-boyfriend and brother when Linus simply responds with, “You’re a good person, Adam. Don’t ever let them tell you you’re not”. I felt that this was Release’ most honest and glorious moment.

In conclusion, Release is a stunning and beautiful novel, giving us an insight on the troubles of discovering who you are. For its astonishing scenes and heartfelt speeches, I’m giving Release an 8/10.



MALADAPTED – Review by Ivin, Queen Elizabeth’s School

maladaptedIn the book Maladapted, Richard Kurti has created a brilliant and ingenious juxtaposition between science and religion. Mr Kurti effectively narrates this action packed tale through the perfectly engineered eyes of Cillian, a gifted maths student who has an unusual, almost obsessive, skill of finding patterns all around him. However, right from the beginning Kurti plunges the main protagonist into a world of confusion, vulnerability and pain through the death of Cillian’s father in a calculated deadly terrorist attack carried out by an extremist organisation called Revelation. With the death of his father, Cillian embarks on a journey of self-discovered chasing the only lead he has: his father’s dying word ‘Gilgamesh’.

His desperate search for answers brings him closer and closer to the extremist organisation that started all his problems, the organisation that had killed his father and regards him as an abomination, not a person – not a child, not even human. Through his journey he meets Tess, an orphan who has been adopted by Revelation and who now works as their ‘assassin of peace’. It was Tess who placed the bomb who killed his father – but despite all the reasons Cillian has to hate Tess and all she stands for, they instantly become friends who heavily depend on each other to escape from the torments of their dystopian world.

Overall I really liked Mr Kurti’s book and found his fast-paced story line refreshing and compulsive. I particularly appreciate his bravery in writing about a truly fascinating conflict between the developments in science and how they react and impact on religion. Furthermore the possibility of perfectly engineered humans is excellently portrayed and the ethical and moral questions raised are, I think, vividly encompassed within Cillian’s determined yet compassionate personality, which really shows how humanity is more accurately described through the emotions and feelings that we as humans experience. I also love the strength of Tess’s and Cillian’s friendship that runs throughout the storyline, which is particularly moving because of the fact that Tess is the one responsible for Cillian’s father’s death. Finally, taking the tragic terrorist attacks that have occurred recently throughout the world but mainly in London, it makes the story more impactful on its audience, but also more relatable – particularly to older teenagers who will be able to understand and appreciate how terrorism can be solved by perseverance, friendship and love.

However, there are a few things that I think Mr Kurti could have improved on to make his novel even more captivating. Firstly I think he could have developed his characters in more depth and made their personalities more complex to make the relationship between the two characters stronger as well as creating more empathy between the characters and the reader. Secondly, I think the end of each chapter was too abrupt and detached from the overall story; each chapter lacked the flow and continuity that is vital in an action-packed novel. Kurti could have achieved this by maybe describing the setting in more detail, in particular the futuristic setting of the city. Lastly, although his use of the contrasting ideas of science and religion is genius, I think he fails to bring the two extremes to a conclusion or middle ground, as the reader is still left unclear on which character is more morally correct.

In conclusion, Maladapted is a very enjoyable, gripping read that is a must for Divergent and Jurassic Park fans. I would also recommend this book to teenagers between 11-15 who enjoy enthralling science-fiction books. Kurti’s original concept of the conflict between science and faith earns him a fantastic four out of five stars.

THE MOONLIGHT DREAMERS – Review by Daniel, Wren Academy


Reading this book was certainly a joy, all books appeal to someone and this one definitely appealed to me. The book from start to end really made me feel as if I was part of it and those books are the best ones of all. It engaged my interest because it was about teenagers and talks about friendship in a heart-warming way. In my opinion all the Read4Barnet books were excellent however I felt that this one was the one that should receive recognition.