Release by Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication date: May 4, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ,
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course
A day in the life of Adam Thorn: work, friendships, filial relationships, love. Everything is about to fall apart in one of the most unsettling days Adam will ever face but maybe the release will give Adam hope. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Release explores the relationship between a gay teen and his preacher father, an inappropriate incident at work, a friendship that is about to change, sex and love.
Ness seamlessly weaves a haunting story of a murder – the week previous – to the day Adam is currently living. Catherine, or my Queen as the faun calls her, has been murdered. She rises where she fell, beside the lake, a week after she died. She only has until sunset to find her release. If anyone was to construct a simple, yet complex story, it could only be as beautifully written as Ness’ Release.
‘We don’t pick our families. Or the sermons they preach.’
Adam is conflicted between his sexuality and the religious values he was brought up with. He fights so hard (too hard) to please his parents when in fact: ‘They’re your parents. They’re meant to love you because. Never in spite.’ Toward the end of the day, Adam confronted his homophobic father, who then tried to ‘heal’ Adam. An element of hope arises when Adam’s older brother, Marty, calls Adam after their fathers preach, to show his support and to ask Adam for forgiveness for not accepting him earlier.
The friendship between Angela Darlington and Adam Thorn is pure. They are accepting and supportive of each other, always within reach and always offering guidance. From a young age, they have been friends ‘they’d nearly died together, after all, which seemed a solid basis. He kind of loved the Darlingtons. He definitely loved Angela. If you could choose your family, he’d definitely choose them.’
Patrick Ness is an award-winning novelist who avidly writes young adult novels such as A Monster Calls, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Rest of Us Just Live Here to name but a few. The strength of Patrick Ness’ writing is breathtaking. He discusses issues of LGBTQ masterfully, outlining where change is necessary and leaving the reader – regardless of sexual preference – in a thought-provoking stance. A poignant novel about release, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a novel about LGBTQ, friendships, love and heartbreak.