Review: RELEASE by Patrick Ness

Reading time 4 mins

RELEASE is my first Patrick Ness book. I have been interested in reading his books for a while since they all seem to be so popular. I can see why since the subject matter conquered in this story is important. Combine that with his descriptive scene details, depth of characters, and easy to follow dialogue and you have one hell of a good story. Unfortunately, this was not a five star read for me. Let me try to explain why.

Adam Thorne is having a tough adolescence. He is in unrequited love with a boy who cast him aside without just cause. The boy he is seeing is a really great guy, but also famously gay and so Adam must keep their relationship a secret. Adam’s father is a church minister and his whole family is very against homosexuality. It wouldn’t be so bad if they at least liked him, but they all treat him like the red-haired step child and his straight brother like the prodigal son. In a matter of just one day all of these situations will collide for Adam. Secrets will be revealed and people will be seen for who they really are.

That all sounds great right? I have to admit that I loved Adam’s story. I couldn’t even imagine what being a gay preacher’s son would be like but this book allowed me to see how uncomfortable and hypocritical it could be. At one time Adam really loved God and throughout the story he struggles with that love since his very nature is spoken against in the bible. Not to get too into the religion of this story, I have to say that this was well done. Be you a believer or not, you shouldn’t be offended by anything in Adam’s story.

Adam has some real emotional support in this story in the form of his best friend who is a bi-female (whom I can’t remember the name of) and his secret boyfriend Linus. These two act in different ways to strengthen and encourage Adam to face the things he must in order to be free. I loved Linus as an out and proud gay guy, but I also loved how patient he was with Adam.

The author did something really bold here for a YA novel and actually talked about the sex. Not just sex, but gay male sex! Bravo Mr. Ness for breaching this uncharted territory! Just like Judy Bloom’s FOREVER was in my generation for straight girls who were curious, so RELEASE is for homosexual young males. Patrick Ness tells the whole story for the reader and leaves little to the imagination.

The elephant in the room (or this book as the case may be), is the “ghost story” being told in alternate chapters throughout this book. This fantastical story about a girl who was first strangled and then weighed down to drown in the town’s lake.It  was not well told. It has something to do with drugs and a teenage girl’s death.It is horrible, but it really had no business in this book. This part of the book tells the story of a ghost of a girl, a queen or a fawn, who seeks revenge and ultimately freedom. I didn’t enjoy that part of this book at all but I powered through it hoping it would somehow connect to Adam and his tale. Now let’s just say I wish I would have just skipped over those chapters.

Well other than that stupid ghost story, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. I was torn between 3 and 4 stars honestly. I am rating up because I have high hopes for this book. I have no one in my immediate circle that would really benefit from Adam’s story in this book. I think even straight YA readers will enjoy this. Since I really do think this is a Judy Bloom FOREVER kind of book,  I am sending out a thousand wishes that this read ends up in the right hands and helps someone.

My Rating

Obviously, there was a cover change at some point for this book. Walker Books previously released this but, HarperTeen is re-releasing this book on September 19, 2017, so I am going with that cover for this review.

Review: RELEASE by Patrick NessRelease by Patrick Ness
Published by HarperTeen on September 19th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Coming of Age, Social Themes, Friendship, LGBT
eARC provided by HarperTeen

AmazonAudibleBook Depository

Inspired by Judy Blume’s Forever and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, this novel that Andrew Smith calls “beautiful, enchanting, [and] exquisitely written” is a new classic about teenage relationships, self-acceptance—and what happens when the walls we build start coming down.
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.

About Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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By | 2017-08-10T05:20:49+00:00 Thursday, August 10, 2017|4 stars, Contemporary, LGBT, reviews, YA|9 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. danielle hammelef August 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the detailed review. I’m not sure that this is a book I’d want to read, but it does sound important for the right people.

  2. Sam@WLABB August 12, 2017 at 8:36 am - Reply

    I have often found Ness’s books odd, but good, however, this one sounds like it will be quite a different experience for me than his previous books. The subject matter alone sounds like it will move me deeply. I read Forever as a teen, and I guess it did have a special purpose back then. Great review!

    • Karen Blue
      August 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks for checking out my review Sam! The ghost story was odd, but Adam’s story was brilliant.

  3. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance August 12, 2017 at 11:16 am - Reply

    I’m really curious about this one – I have an ARC to read soon. I’ve heard similar thoughts about the “second” story though!
    Check Out Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance’s most recent post- Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper VaughnMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      August 12, 2017 at 11:22 pm - Reply

      This is lgbt in the highest order, so please read/review it soon! I think you will love this, except fot the “ghost story”.

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity August 13, 2017 at 5:36 am - Reply

    I have a love hate relationship with Ness’s books. he is raved about and I read his last book, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and really enjoyed it but also didn’t seem to be at rave worthy levels like everyone else. Then I couldn’t get into his Chaos Walking book. The I read A Monster Calls (which he finished for another author) and was amazed at its brilliance. I don’t get how he can provoke such different feelings from me with his books. I was planning to wait for reviews with this book and see how it went. I can see there is a lot of good happening in this book with the main storyline so it sucks the ghost story just didn’t seem to match up. I will give it a chance, I’ll try and get a copy from the library so we’ll see.
    Check Out Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity’s most recent post- Sunday Summary // 13.08.2017My Profile

    • Karen Blue
      August 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm - Reply

      I would love to read your thoughts on this book. I see a lot of people were saying that his books are all so different and that is really rare for an author. Thanks for checking out my review!

  5. kimbacaffeinate August 15, 2017 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    I love Ness, but admittedly have only read his adult works. You have me very curious and I am adding this to my list.
    Check Out kimbacaffeinate’s most recent post- Six Book Blogs I Want Others to DiscoverMy Profile

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