A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Disney - Hyperion
Release Date: January 2017

Five years ago, Adam Blake and his mother took a young foster child into their home. To Adam, Julian was the brother he never had. His mother loved Julian like her own. Everything was great until a distant uncle was found. He pulled Julian from their home and cut off any hope of staying in touch.

Adam is a senior in high school now. He's assigned to aide the school counselor. His first duty is to make sure a freshman actually shows up for meetings with the counselor. Adam is surprised to find Julian is that freshman.

Julian's school performance is pathetic at best. He does poorly on assignments, skips classes regularly, and has no friends. The counselor hopes that Adam may be key to reaching Julian. Adam takes Julian under his wing and starts to transform Julian's life. Those transformations, though, could cost the boys dearly.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The detail that went into the writing is amazing. The scenes with Julian tugged at my heart. Adam is a character I loved. Watching Julian and Adam reunite and form such a deep bond had me tearing up. The end of the novel was tough but gripping.

Some of the scenes are so ugly that it's hard to praise them. That said, the key topic is child abuse. That's pretty clear from the start. I hated one character in the book and, sadly, know that there are so many out there that are like him. It breaks my heart that while this is a work of fiction, it could just as easily been taken from the headlines.

RTR's Bottom Line

Pick up A List of Cages. If you can get through this novel without tearing up and feeling outraged, I'll be surprised. I was emotionally invested and wanted to hug so many teens in this story. What an emotional powerhouse of a story.


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