Okay, we know we’re making a bold statement here, but trust us. If you want something as powerful as it is enjoyable, as emotional as it is compulsively readable, RELEASE is the fall book for you. This Epic Reader could not put it down—finished it in three hours. But if you need some more convincing, then we’ve got you covered.
RELEASE has received four starred reviews from professional outlets, including one from Booklist that warns it “will rip the hearts right out of its readers.” There’s also that Patrick is the author of cult classics A MONSTER CALLS and THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE, so you know he can deliver a stunningly good story. RELEASE follows one boy, Adam Thorn, on a single day that changes his life in every regard.
Want to start reading before you judge? We’ve got an exclusive excerpt of the first two chapters. Check them out here, and then scroll down for even more proof that RELEASE is the book you need to read this fall!
The main character
We dare you not to fall in love with Adam Thorn. He’s not perfect, but that’s kind of the whole point. Everything he goes through will have you sympathizing with him and wanting things to turn out right, even if you can’t relate to his situation directly—which, we’re not expecting everyone to. But he’s trying his best, and once you meet his family, his boss, and his friends, you’ll understand why we want things to just be all right for him.
On top of battling the insecurities that everyone faces—in themselves, in their relationships—Adam is the gay son of his small town’s preacher and struggles with their perception of him. Especially with the shadow of his seemingly perfect brother, Marty, looming over him.
“And two, I know what it is to be in love, Marty.”
“No, you don’t. Teenage love isn’t love. Especially if it’s…” He stopped.
“Especially if it’s what?” Adam leaned into the truck, raised his voice. “Especially if it’s what?”
UGH. Get ready for all the feels about Adam Thorn. You’ll want to just give him a hug 😭
It’ll give you major Judy Blume vibes
Since RELEASE was inspired by Judy Blume’s FOREVER and Virginia Woolf’s MRS. DALLOWAY, it’s no surprise that Patrick Ness doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to adolescent angst. It’s written so well and the voice is so authentic; it’s the first book in a long time that’s reminded us of the most important books we read when we were younger.
Haven’t read any Judy Blume? No worries. We’ve got a new classic for you right here.
It covers tough topics
Adam has a party the day that RELEASE takes place on, and it just so happens to be a going away party for his ex. He shouldn’t care, especially because he’s happily (?) in a new relationship with Linus, who’s amazing. But he does. And we get it. Emotions are tricky.
He was different than Adam, is what Adam always told himself. Adam used words. Enzo used affection, didn’t he? And he had been affectionate. If he hadn’t said the words out loud much, he’d said them over and over again with a touch, with a kiss, with sex that was hardly just going in one direction.
“Why do we have to label it?” Enzo had asked, all along, it was true. “Why can’t we just be?”
And Adam had said, “Okay.” He’d said, “Okay.” He hadn’t even tried the it’s-not-a-label-it’s-a-map thing he’d sold to Angela. Why not? Why hadn’t he? Why the hell did he just take whatever Enzo offered? Without argument or demand. Without even apparent self-respect
But that’s not all. Adam’s also dealing with sexual harrassment at work, the aforementioned family that isn’t in any hurry to undetstand him, and a shifting ground beneath the feet of his best friend. And ALL THIS TAKES PLACE ON A SINGLE DAY.
It’s okay, Adam, because:
Some things might hit you harder than others—we know that happened with us—and it’s fully warranted. Patrick’s writing is so deft and emotional that you’ll be fully absorbed and completely unable to put the book down even when things get tough.
There’s a supernatural twist
Just as Adam’s having a tough time getting through his day, so is the world around him. Somewhere in town, a ghost has risen from the lake, and it may or may not be tied to the ordeal that Adam is going through. We won’t say too much, but…
It’s a tale of wicked revenge told through fantastical vignettes, and it might seem a little confusing at first, but by the end it will all come full circle, we promise.
It’ll leave you feeling hopeful
This won’t spoil a thing, we promise—but by the end of RELEASE, we can guarantee you will be feeling a little sad, a little happy, and, more than either, full of hope. As Adam’s life unwinds and rebuilds around him, you’ll see the positives, the suns on the horizon, the brighter things waiting for him tomorrow. And they’ll remind you that you have brighter things in your tomorrow, too. Even if everything feels like it’s falling apart right now.
At its core, RELEASE is a story that runs on emotion, and yours will go through the ringer as Adam deals with every facet of his life. But we promise it’s a good thing! RELEASE is like the bookish equivalent to happy crying. You might even happy cry while reading.
Find out more about Release
Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.
Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart. At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.
But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release.
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Monster Calls comes a raw, darkly funny, and deeply affecting story about the courage it takes to live your truth.
Is RELEASE as high up your TBR as it is ours? Let us know in the comments below!