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 Michael, Totteridge Academy

releaseRelease is a book by Patrick Ness and contains two interwoven stories. The first story is about a 16 year old boy called Adam Thorne, who lives in Frome, Washington and has insecurities about being a homosexual boy born into a deeply religious family and community.  Adam is the second son of evangelist preacher, ‘Big Brian Thorne’, from The House upon the Rock Evangelical Church.  Adam is conflicted with the fact that he wants to tell his parents that he is homosexual but fears that if he does, they will stop him meeting his boyfriend.

The second story is about a spirit of the Queen of the Lake trapped within the mangled and dishevelled body of murdered girl, Katherine Van Leuwen. The fate of the world lies with the power of the Queen and dies with her.  The reader follows this story as the Queen slips between the memories and personalities of the dishevelled girl and the all-powerful, awe-inspiring Queen of the Lake.  The reader follows the Queen and her faithful servant, a faun, as they go on a journey to avenge the soul of the lost girl.  The faun struggles to regain control of the Queen, whom he has been faithfully following from the restless spirit of the girl.

These stories share a common element; a single red rose. We discover that the key to the Queen’s release from this half-existence lies with this story’s protagonist, Katherine.  A single red rose woke the Queen from her slumber and took her on Katherine’s revenge journey through the town she once called home.  A single red rose was also intended for Adam’s beloved boyfriend.  This shows a powerful message in the form of an extended metaphor with the rose signifying that love, no matter in what form, is the key to sadness and happiness.  It shows that when one candle is extinguished another is lit, stronger than the first which will burn brighter and longer.

I really enjoyed this story and I strongly urge all readers with a love for ‘factional’ writing and interest in problems in the real world to read it. In summary, a very good story for teenagers and adults as it contains some sexual themes and some language that would not be appropriate for the younger reader.

RELEASE – Review by Ralph, Wren Academy

releaseRelease follows Adam Thorn, a gay teenager, and his life with his parents, who are devout Christians and would no doubt be very upset if they knew, and his adult brother, Marty. Adam’s best friend is Angela, who lives on a farm with her parents. The book describes one of the worse days in Adam’s life with events such as the permanent departure on his old friend Enzo, the temporary, year-long departure of Angela, being sexually harassed by his boss, his parents discovering his sexual orientation, and the news that Marty is going to be a father. Watch him try to deal with all these issues while being enthralled by a sub story of a girl with magic powers.

My thoughts: I will be honest, I did not like this book much. I’m sure it is not a bad book but I do not like this form of genre. The sub-story is unnecessary and does not affect the book at all. It is essentially two stories in one but they interlocked so one may just be getting good but then it is halted so you can read an entirely new plotline. One story I found interesting but the other dull. I give this book 6/10.


RELEASE, Review by Adam, JCoSS

releaseRelease was very similar to Patrick Ness’s book The Rest of us Just Live Here, not just in genre (contemporary) but in other ways. I won’t focus on that too much, but to name a few similarities:

  • They both had two stories which linked together;
  • One story was fantasy and the other was contemporary; and
  • They both had strong messages on friendship and love.

So if you liked The Rest of us Just Live Here, this is definitely for you.

Now, onto the plot. The story takes place over one day, from the perspective of Adam Thorne, a seventeen year-old boy who has yet to tell his strict Christian parents that he is gay. It’s not an ordinary day though; today, among other things, is the day his ex-boyfriend Enzo is leaving forever. His problems don’t end there though, he also must deal with his angry family, his sleazy boss, and the year-long leave of his best friend Angela. Adam’s story has powerful messages about acceptance, about love, but most of all about freedom. Release. Adam wants to release himself from Enzo. Adam and his brother want to release themselves from their parents. Angela wants to (literally) release herself from her hometown, and go abroad.

The faun followed his Queen, “What about our story?” he asked. “Our story will be released later.”

The other side of the story is where it gets confusing. Following the murder of a meth addict, Katie, her soul is combined with that of the other world’s Queen. While the Katie half is searching for release by finding the cause of her death, the Queen seems to be trying to save her world from ending (somehow).

Overall, this is not my favourite Patrick Ness book by any means, but it is still powerful, it is still meaningful and it is still beautifully written. I enjoyed Adam’s story much more, which is strange as I like contemporary fiction less than I like fantasy. I think this is because I didn’t understand the Queen’s story, whereas Adam’s was easy to understand and relate to. It does have mature themes such as murder, drugs and sex, so I don’t recommend it to someone who doesn’t like (or isn’t allowed) to read stuff like that.

RELEASE, Review by Eva, JCoSS

releaseI count myself as a massive Patrick Ness fan, so it’s not surprising that I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it. Of course, I had high expectations, as I love how he develops his characters and his stories normally grip me. Sadly, I have to say that this book wasn’t really for me, though it had a very powerful message; you have to lead your own life and not let others control it for you.

The story is about a day in the life of Adam Thorn, youngest son of an evangelical preacher. Because he knows his parents will disapprove, Adam hasn’t yet told them that he is gay – he believes they won’t love him any more if they know. He also has to deal with a horrible boss, his emotions about an ex-boyfriend and disturbing news about his best friend.

Meanwhile, the spirit of a young girl emerges from a lake, where she has been drowned, seeking revenge on the man who has murdered her. I found this part of the story quite confusing – the spirit is tied with a queen of the lake, but I didn’t really understand why this was relevant.

There were strong messages about love and death, taking responsibility for your actions and ultimately finding release or freedom to be yourself, but I didn’t feel much empathy for the main characters and the story of the wandering spirit didn’t grab me.

I still think Patrick Ness fans will enjoy this book. It is very explicit in places, so it’s not suitable for younger readers, but it does deal with some important issues about identity. I didn’t love it but it won’t put me off reading his books in the future.

Review: The Art of Being Normal, by Shems at Copthall School

The Art of Being NormalThis book was very different for me because it showed how people hide a lot of feelings from others and how you think you know someone but then it turns out you know hardly anything about them. I enjoyed the part in the story when Leo stood up for David by punching Harry, forming an unexpected friendship which then revealed a lot of other secrets. Things changed instantly when [SPOILER ALERT!]…………….

Leo admitted to Alicia he was a girl but is transgender and when Leo told David the real reason why he left Cloverdale High. I really enjoyed this book. 9/10


Review: The Art of Being Normal, by Qaizaar at Queen Elizabeth’s School

The Art of Being NormalDavid Piper has a normal life. He goes to an average school, and has great friends, however, he has a secret that he has only revealed once, he wants to be a girl. Everyone in school (apart from his friends) has categorised him as weird, but he wants to believe that he is a girl, trapped in a body of a boy. As a new boy arrives in school, David cannot help being suspicious about him. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an odd relationship begins to form.

I enjoyed this book a lot, it is easy to understand, and very witty. It has a powerful meaning and really does show us about the art of being normal. I would say that this book is aimed at people around 13 years old, and would give it a high rating overall.