C.G. Drews's Reviews > A List of Cages

A List of Cages by Robin Roe
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, contemporary, disability, read-2017, ya-male-narrators, young-adult

This is the most precious cinnamon roll of a book I have ever read. It absolutely DAMAGED MY SOUL but it was beautiful and heartfelt and the characters just sort of sneaked off the page and became incredibly real and relatable people to me and just GAHHHHH I LOVED IT SO MUCH I CANNOT EVEN.

(Also this is my first 5 star read of the year!! I'm so excited!!)

Basically this is a story about friendship and abuse. I will warn you: it's not easy to read. It does heavily feature child abuse and stockholm syndrome and psychological torture. IT'S REALLY BITTERLY HEARTBREAKING. I'm like the Vulcan of the century so I didn't cry, but I was definitely in a tangled knot on the inside.

And I so loved the emphasis on friendship. Also how it was "unconventional" friendship. It's dual narrated by Adam and Julian. They met when they were little because Julian has dyslexia and Adam was in a group helping younger kids to read. There's actually a four year age gap between them AND I LOVED THIS. Not only did it show us that (A) it is awesome and great to be friends with people who aren't necessarily your same age, and (B) it had a really big-brother-little-brother feel to the friendship too. (And brotherly stories are actually my favourite thing.)

And the characters?! THEY WERE RIDICULOUSLY PRECIOUS. Even though they both narrated in 1st person, I felt their voices were super different! Adam's chapters were more bouncy and bright, while Julian's were timid and cautious. And the fact that I could SEE that in the writing is just afjdksalfd incredibly talented word wizarding.

ADAM: he has ADHD and is in his senior year at highschool. He is 100% Mr. Happy and like how incredibly refreshing was it to read about a happy boy?!? I LOVED IT. And he cares fiercely about people, although he's often obviously to subtleties. Which is very realistic for ADHD people, as far as I know.
JULIAN: he has dyslexia and he's just started higschool (I think?)...he's 14 anyway. IDK HOW YOUR AMERICAN HIGHSCHOOLS WORK. Anyway. His parents died when he was little so he went from a goofy little kid to this timid shy depressed child...and it just got worse when his abusive uncle adopted him. The abuse Julian goes through is horrifying to read and crushing and, gah, I just wanted to snatch him out of this book and keep him safe. But watching him rekindle his friendship with Adam and learn he's wanted and worthwhile was absolutely amazing.

I also am so pleased it featured boys with disabilities. Disabilities is something I don't often get to see a lot of in books! SO YAY FOR REP. And it also didn't gloss over what it's like to have your life impacted by a disability (particularly a sort of "invisible" disability like these where a lot of people don't believe you have it or choose to ignore/erase it). They're actually treated REALLY HORRIBLY by most people around them, though. So that was hard to read. Their teachers have 0% caring for disabilities. Julian's dyslexia is "his fault". No one's helping him and he's failing school because he can't read/write well enough. Adam gets in trouble for his ADHD a lot, but at least he has a supportive mother.

Ohhhh and you know something else that impressed me?! It talked about how medication isn't the ONLY way to deal with things! It's not anti-medication, don't worry. But you know what? Medication doesn't work for everybody. And I just kind of flailed when Adam and his mum were using good diets and homeopathic remedies to help manage his ADHD. It was really relatable to me because this is what my family does. <3 So just thank you to the author, THANK YOU SO MUCH, for representing natural alternatives and not sneering on them. (They don't always work either, okay, but neither does medication. And it's so nice to see balance.)


Also the book is really small, so I just flew through it! I think sometimes the smallness worked against it, a bit, because there were things that were glossed over. I still have questions and a few things confused me (view spoiler)

AND IT KIND OF SOCKED ME IN THE FEELS. Which I love and appreciate. How are these characters just so incredibly precious?!? They were so different and yet so wonderful and I GUSH. And like when Adam + his senior friends decided to "adopt" Julian during school hours and just take care of him??? Be still my beating heart.

ALL IN ALL: look you need this book in your life. I'm hugging it with affection and I loved the boys and I loved how it represented disabilities. It wasn't a fair book. It wasn't an easy book. It wasn't always a kind book. But I think it was realistic and it definitely made me think. And I love love looooooove books that focus on friendship. FRIENDSHIP IS IMPORTANT AND KNOWS NO BOUNDS.

PS. Go read this book.
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Reading Progress

October 30, 2016 – Shelved
October 30, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 6, 2017 – Started Reading
January 6, 2017 –
56.0% "This book is excellent and yet also BREAKING MY HEART."
January 7, 2017 – Shelved as: 5-star
January 7, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 7, 2017 – Shelved as: disability
January 7, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
January 7, 2017 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
January 7, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 7, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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La Coccinelle Alternative medicine portrayed in a positive light? *gasp* (I hope the author doesn't get crap for that.)

This one's already on my want-to-read list. I'm glad to hear it's good!

message 2: by Bee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bee SO glad you enjoyed this more than I did Cait! I was a tad bored in the first half and I didn't get the romance with Emerald but I agree that it punches you in the feels and it's heartbreaking and tough to read at times and Julian is just the most precious thing ever.

message 3: by Joie de Livre (new)

Joie de Livre Judging from your fantastic review this book is fantastic too but I get easily triggered by child abuse,I don't really know.It traumatizes me.I'll think about it anyways but thank you for the great review anyways!:)

message 4: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Cait, I had to stop myself from reading after the first sentence of your review. This is on my TBR, and since you warned of spoilers I must revisit this review after I've had the chance to experience it for myself. Happy to know you enjoyed its cinnamon-goodness!

C.G. Drews @Andrea: Warned of spoilers? Not sure what you mean! My review is spoiler free. :)

message 6: by Tova (new) - added it

Tova Freshman (9th Graders) are usually about 14/15 depends. But I can't wait to read this book. It sounds fantastic!

Katie This sounds amazing! Now I have yet another book added to my ever growing TBR. Oh well.

message 8: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Cait, YES! In blue, it says "This review is hidden because of spoilers. Tap here to view full review". I tapped to see your review. Huh, maybe you indicated spoilers by accident?

message 9: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine This sounds so good! It's so rare to see ADHD rep in books.

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Tova: Yep Julian was 14 turning 15!


@Andrea: omg that's really strange. I checked that I hadn't ticked the "hide review because of spoilers" option, but I haven't? Anyway, there is one spoiler tag in it, but otherwise (if you don't click on that) there's no spoilers. 0_0 Goodreads is messing with me.

@Christine: I agree!! We need more disability rep.

message 11: by Nina (new) - added it

Nina This book has been pointed out to me from a friend recently, because I hadn't heard about it prior to that. And it's getting such good reviews, yours being one of them, which has made me incredibly excited for it *.*

message 12: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Nina: I hope you get a chance to try it!!

message 13: by M F (new)

M F I'll bear this one in mind! I'm trying to limit the number of books I read that "sock me in the feels", as you put it, because frankly I'm a fragile beastie at the moment and I need comfort and escapism not feelings. But, happy characters are good. So I shall keep it in the back of my mind in case I come across it in the library or something. :)

message 14: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars


Danielle I’ve had this book for awhile, but your review inspired me to finally pick it up. Here goes nothing!

message 16: by KimberlyRose (new) - added it

KimberlyRose I adore your reviews! They're incredibly lively and fresh. Also, I have similar theme interests as you do, so am devouring your lists!

message 17: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @KimberlyRose: Aww thank you! I am so glad!

message 18: by ;; (new) - added it

;; I agree with @KimberlyRose!

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