Iris's Reviews > Surrender Your Sons

Surrender Your Sons by Adam  Sass
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2-stars, disappointing-endings, contemporary, lgbtqiap, read-in-2020, thriller

I was given this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This doesn't affect my opinions in any way.

Wow I hated this book. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I tried really hard to like it. Parts of it I even did like. But I also had some pretty major issues with it, both in the sense of 'I think this is sorta problematic??' and in the sense of 'was this actually edited??'

This read like a book that couldn't make up its mind on what exactly it wanted to be. I'm sad, because I think it had the potential to be great, but instead it's . . . not.

Before I get into my . . . many, many criticisms,,, I do want to touch on the good in this book. Conversion therapy is an incredibly important topic, and this book really packs a punch with some very powerful and important messages. I don't want to minimize that, and I believe this book will mean a lot to many people. I truly hope that others love this book much more than I did.

My first problem with this book was just ,,,, the writing. I could not stand the writing style. I liked it for the first maybe 10% of the book, but after that . . . I don't know if it got old or if it just got worse, but it very quickly became unbearable to me. It also . . . sort of felt really rough, almost like first draft level writing? So maybe it got better between the ARC and the final version, I'm not sure--but either way an arc shouldn't really feel like a first draft.

The book also just felt . . . a bit all over the place? I truly feel like this book tried to do too much at once. Somewhat relatedly, the pacing was abysmal. This took place over the space of a few (?) days, but it was really hard to follow the timeline and it just ended up feeling really choppy and messy.

also can I just say this had one of the worst sex scenes I've ever read and I Did Not Like It

My next big problem was that I really hated Connor. He just annoyed me so much, and like I was rooting for him, but only on the very basic level of 'literally no one deserves this place so I hope he can get out', because I sure as hell didn't care about his wellbeing specifically. He just . . . hhh he annoyed me. He was also sort of . . . inconsistent? Also, he cheated. He even acknowledged he was cheating, and he still did it and didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with it. And I am so not here for that.

Also I just absolutely hated the ending. (view spoiler)

Next we get to the slew of issues I had with this book that were a bit more . . . yikes. Some of these may have changed between the ARC and the finished copy, so do take some of this with a grain of salt, but . . . I had a lot of issues here.

- I felt there were some pretty strong implications that Costa Rica was "backwards" and that was why they were able to do have a conversion camp there but not in the US, which . . . isn't a great implication? and like,,,, conversion therapy is still legal in much of the US soooo,,,,,

- (I don't actually remember this very clearly, but I made a note of it so anyways) the only bi rep felt like it fit into a lot of harmful stereotypes wit her sort of being into everybody and? according to my notes she cheated too? I have veeeery little memory of this but I made a very angry note so yeah I guess it wasn't good and wasn't really addressed ever

- there were multiple comments implying that having sex made you better or more grown up and,,, can we Not

- also there was the wholeass time that the love interest said he was glad the main character came and I'm like,,,, I think it was supposed to be romantic???? but personally I sure as hell wouldn't be glad that someone I cared about had come to conversion therapy even if it *was* the only reason I got to meet them?? because it's going to leave him super traumatized and like,,,,,,, just don't. don't tell the guy you like that you're glad he came to conversion camp because it means you got to meet him

- last but certainly not least, one of my big issues with this book was the way (view spoiler)

TWs:(view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

April 25, 2019 – Shelved
April 25, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 14, 2020 – Started Reading
May 14, 2020 –
20.0% "I have a lot of thoughts so far and most of them are not good"
May 16, 2020 –
61.0% "even like . . . actual issues aside . . . this book is supposed to be like. powerful and deep. but half the time i'm just annoyed with Connor"
May 17, 2020 –
64.0% "that was the stupidest decision anyone in fiction has ever made, and I don't like that it's being shown as "doing the right thing" because honestly in a situation like this sometimes you need to look after yourself first (at least if it doesn't mean actively hurting anyone else! which this didn't!)

also it just strategically was Not the Best"
May 17, 2020 –
71.0% "how do I explain that constantly referring to cute boys who have body hair as "furry" does not have quite the intended affect"
May 17, 2020 –
90.0% "this is. the worst confrontation scene I have ever read. it's so like. casual. for the fact that this person was literally shooting at them just hours ago. it's so awkward and poorly written too."
May 18, 2020 – Finished Reading
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: 2-stars
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: disappointing-endings
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: read-in-2020
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: thriller

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