The contemporary story at the heart of Release is powerful and moving. Adam is a preacher’s son and he is gay. He’s quite comfortable with his sexuality but his family are in denial. The boy he thought he was in love with is leaving town and he’s facing unwanted attention from his boss.

It all happens in one day, although it is an eventful one so feels like longer. On one hand it’s a microcosm of the type of things a gay teen in a small town might have to face. It’s hard to fathom how parents can not want happiness for their child because of their sexuality. His father puts his religion before his son. It’s also a bit about how it feels when it seems like everyone is moving on and you’re being left behind.

They’re your parents. They’re meant to love you because. Never in spite.

Having heard a little about Patrick Ness’ past, this book feels highly personal, perhaps reflecting some of what he went through with his parents (although the author’s note says his dad is not in the book).

What I didn’t really get on with was the secondary fantasy story and I didn’t see how it was relevant to Adam. A girl has been murdered by her drug addict boyfriend and she returns to walk the world, with a faun at her side. The faun is worried that if she doesn’t return by the end of the day, their world will end. The girl and his Queen are intertwined, both the same person and different. I suppose it was about how hard it is to escape your circumstances but the whole switching between Queen and dead girl confused me greatly.

Never pass up the chance to be kissing someone. It’s the worst kind of regret.

The book is inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, two books I haven’t read so may not have got the references. Although Mrs Dalloway cropped up in Yesterday so I can make one connection between that book and the girl’s fate. If you’ve read these books maybe it will all click into place!

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Book Source: Purchased