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The most personal and tender novel yet from Patrick Ness, the twice Carnegie Medal-winning author of A Monster Calls.
The most personal and tender novel yet from Patrick Ness, the twice Carnegie Medal-winning author of A Monster Calls. It's Saturday, it's summer and, although he doesn't know it yet, everything in Adam Thorn's life is going to fall apart. But maybe, just maybe, he'll find freedom from the release. Time is running out though, because way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake... This uplifting coming-of-age novel will remind you what it's like to fall in love.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
For at least the first half of this book I just kept thinking it was really weird and I wasn't at all sure where it was heading.
We have two concurrent tales. The comprehensible one involves Adam Thorn - a young gay man who seems to have a fractured relationship with his parents, a sex pest of a boss and an ex lover who's about to leave town. He has a new partner who adores him but he can't seem to let go of his past relationship.
The other thread involves a "Ghost Queen" who is stalking her way around town - being stalked by a Faun who has to get her to return to her world before the end of the day - otherwise their realm will be destroyed.
As the story evolves the Queen is revealed to be a murdered drug addict and eventually her quest for vengeance collides with Adam's attempts to work out his priorities.
The ending is actually quite beautiful and it's definitely a book worth reading but be prepared to get at least halfway through before you stop wondering what on earth is going on!
" "Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway meets Judy Blume's Forever" is as good a pitch as I've heard this year, and this beautifully crafted, complex novel which Ness calls his most personal yet, does not disappoint. [...] Told with real tenderness, it's a brilliant portrayal of the intensity of a teenager's inner life." * The Bookseller * Intense, complex and bold, Ness sensitively explores how Adam grapples with what matters to him, how he frames himself (or not) in relation to others, trying to untangle the confusion and contradictory feelings of love and hate, hope and despair. Whilst this book is out there and rightly proud of being so, these are themes I think that will speak to (m)any (a) teenager, gay, straight or something else. Pretty no-nonsense descriptions of gay sex will probably provide an eye-opening and much-appreciated-by-many-a-young-person education akin to that gifted by many of Blume's books particularly in the 1970s and 80s. * Playing by the Book * Release by Patrick Ness could become just as much of a pivotal text for gay teens and Judy Blume's Forever is for straight ones. * The Bookseller * Based loosely on Ness' own experiences growing up, it's here that the novel really shines; Adam's insecurities and struggle with his parents' beliefs are heartbreaking. Ness' fictional worlds are littered with fantastic characters: Adam is a wonderful addition. * The List (Glasgow & Edinburgh) * Ness once again demonstrates his profound understanding of the complexities of being a young adult, and of the human condition more generally ... Heartbreaking, intense and acutely honest, this novel casts a subtle spell of hope. * LoveReading4Kids, Joanne Owen * It's signature Ness in many ways, particularly in how it sensitively and maturely deals with the horrors - and the ecstasies - of teenage life. [...] Based loosely on ness' own experience growing up, it's here that the novel really shines; Adam's insecurities and struggle with his parents' beliefs are heartbreaking. Ness' fictional worlds are littered with fantastic characters: Adam I a wonderful addition to the panoply. * List.co.uk * A gripping, soulful novel about a life-changing day, which will surely change the lives of those who read it. [...] Partly modelled on two of the author's most admired books (Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume's Forever), with this remarkable novel Ness once again demonstrates his profound understanding of the complexities of being a young adult, and of the human condition more generally. Adam's story is pinpricked with truly nerve-touching moments, perhaps most poignantly between him and the overbearing father he fears coming-out to. At one point his dad reveals that he wishes Adam could be honest with him, and then Adam begins to let go. While revealing truths can be excruciatingly painful, doing so might also bring refreshing, life-affirming release. Heartbreaking, intense and acutely honest, this novel casts a subtle spell of hope. * Joanne Owen, LoveReading * "The main plot is huge fun, with vivid believable characters relatable problems and entertaining dialogue." * SFX Magazine * "Patrick Ness has written a pacy, convincing, coming-of-age novel... The sex scenes are explicit and educational, without being prurient. So much better to let your children read this than let them learn the finer details of gay sex from porn and Grindr... I was gripped by Adam's journey to self-belief, told pacily, beautifully... Adam's story alone is thrilling, intimate, important, joyous" * The Times * "[...] feels refreshingly uncensored [...] As in all Ness's books, the prose gallops along, leaving the teacups trembling [...] It is in his ability to dramatise this suburban claustrophobia, rather than in the strains of fantasy, that Ness excels. There is much in Release to value." * The Telegraph * "Release is the spellbinding new semi-autobiographical novel from the award-winning young-adult author Patrick Ness, [...] Packed with crisp dialogue and some realistic gay sex scenes, this is a captivating and emotional tale." * Attitude Magazine * "This funny, touching, honest exploration of growing up follows 17-year-old Adam through one day in which his relationships shift. It includes tenderness and sex with his boyfriend, and coming out to his strict Christian pastor father." * The Sunday Times * "Ness's great achievement in Release is to acknowledge the weight, worth and agony of first love, and to show the richer blooming of a second, still prone to pain and error, irrevocably shaped by earlier experience, but knowing and expecting more, now, from both parties. It's a book that will speak, with passionate warmth, to anyone who has ever been made to feel "less than". * The Guardian * "[...] one of the finest YA novels to have emerged this year." * The Irish Times * "[...] intimate and immensely powerful story [...] First sex, the beginnings of love and the risen spirit of a recently murdered local girl are all described with absolute authenticity; this is teenagerdom in all its naked, raw, intoxicating and terrifying splendour." * Teach Secondary * "[...] passionate and disturbing [...] A richly layered tale of finding your true family and knowing when to give up on ideals." * The Observer, Children's Book of the Week * "A richly layered tale of finding your true family and knowing when to give up on ideals." * theguardian.com * "Ness's books are always original and this one is no exception." * Irish Independent * "I would really recommend this" * sweetlovebooks * "A beautifully written, relevant and challenging read for young adults, which will not disappoint fans of Patrick Ness. [...] Characters are well-drawn, and through a mixture of witty dialogue together with searing, and sometimes, painful honesty, readers will care deeply about the characters in both interconnected storylines. In both plot and style, readers will be challenged and respected, with explicit gay sex scenes being tenderly written." * Carousel * [...] Patrick Ness, has published possibly his greatest and most personal novel so far [...] From its very first pages, Release floors with a gut-wrenching, yet funny, tender and warm, exploration of the struggle of a young man, and what it means to have to live secretly, and with disapproval and shame, and the ever-present feeling that what you are is not right. [...] It's a daring act, taking on the format of a great classic [Mrs Dalloway], but Ness pulls it off, and in dazzling, heartrending fashion. * The Herald * "[...] it's frequently gut-wrenching, yet funny, tender and warm." * Sunday Herald * "Heartbreaking and intense, Release is a stunning read" * Young Post * "[a] subtle, heartfelt story of love and friendship in small-town America." * The Guardian *