Hi, everybody. It is Julie, welcome back to pages and pens. Today I am here with a book review for you and it is for A List of Cages by Robin Roe. This review is going up after our live show for Java and the Librarians. This was the Java and the Librarians Book club of the month So I will have that listed up above and down below, but I wanted to talk about this book. Now, yes, we talked about it during the live show, but I have some thoughts and I’m technically filming this prior to the live show. If you have any further questions about my thoughts or the thoughts of the other people that read this book, you can definitely check out that streaming live show, it’ll be archived. I know that a ton of people love this book. Essentially I went into this very very excited. This is a story about foster brothers Julian and Adam. Now Julian was in the foster system for a little while after his parents passed away, Adam was his foster brother. And then, Julian goes and lives with an uncle by marriage is no longer housed with Adam. But one day at school Adam is paired up with Julian, and they reunite. This was pitched to me as a very very emotional very hard-hitting, all the tears, all the feels kind of a book. So I went into this very ready for like a tear-jerking, a heart-wrenching, really really heartbreaking book. And I’m a crier, so I was fully ready to lose my mind reading this book. Unfortunately, that’s not what ended up happening. I gave this book two stars. I don’t see anybody else really giving it the kind of review and saying the things about it that I personally felt. I have seen a ton of rave reviews and five-star reviews, so I want to talk about this book. and my personal thoughts on it. As well as some of the thoughts that I’ve seen just around…you know general booktube. But first, let’s take a look at this book. Because first of all this covers gorgeous I love how simple it is. This is the actual like hardcover, this glossy, so it’s not gonna leave oil fingerprints or anything. It’s so beautiful. This book itself is really gorgeous I’ve already kind of gone over this, but this is about Julian who’s a foster child or was a foster child and Adam, who’s a couple years older? I believe Adams a senior and Julian is a freshman so I think Julian’s like 15 going on 16 and Adam is already 18 when this book takes place. And this is gonna be completely non spoilery. So you don’t need to worry about anything, I’m not gonna spoil anything. We’re not gonna go into any kind of plot points. I’m not gonna talk about this book in a way that spoils it. But I want to discuss where I felt a disconnect with this book. Now if you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I update all of my reading there you also know that I try to update my goodreads as I read as often as possible with my thoughts, so I’ll put like little notes in there. And that’s for myself when I write reviews at the end as well as for you guys so you know how I’m feeling as I’m reading. But, consistently throughout reading this book I felt an extreme disconnect from the characters. I think I was 89 pages in, and I still just did not care about what was happening. Julian is definitely cast in this as very much a victim. You can tell he has some social anxiety. Adam is the caring big brother nurturing, trying to- protector type. And there’s very clear roles there. And each one of them you could tell that you were supposed to care and really feel for these characters. And I wasn’t. This is one of the only books that I’ve ever found myself reading full chapters, and not knowing what I read. And having to go back and reread it, and then just spacing out because I didn’t care.That does not happen for me when I read. I had to reread so many parts of this book, because I was reading it and just not connecting with it enough to even recall or remember what I was reading. And unfortunately, I think that speaks to the writing in this book. I did not connect with this author’s writing style I did not think the writing was particularly good. I think given this topic and and the story that they were telling – that Robin was telling, there were so many opportunities for gorgeous writing ,and takeaways, and little quotes, and things that really inspired and moved you. And I didn’t get any of that. Very forced. Here’s what you should be feeling, here’s hard hit, hard hit, hard hit, feel, feel, feel. Really, no emotional connection to these characters for me. So I couldn’t feel, and I felt like I was being forced to feel by the author. I felt like I really never got to know these characters, at all. I wanted to care about them, and I wanted to love them. I wanted to love this book in this story. And I I didn’t. If it had not been a book club book, I probably would have DNF’d it. Situation after situation occurred where I knew I was supposed to be like shocked or horrified. And I just wasn’t. Which is not to say that the situations in this book were not heartbreaking, I didn’t cry once, I didn’t tear up. Seriously unheard of for me, because there’s other books that people would consider like humorous books, well, I will tear up. I cry you guys know I cry. I’m a crier, and I’ve never made a secret out of being a crier here on this channel. But I didn’t even well up at this book Which is saying something. I think about the writing style and the way that the characters were portrayed to me. That I didn’t understand I just, I don’t get it. I will also link Kayleigh, down below, her Instagram. Because, Kaylee is one of our buddy read group members on Facebook, as well as a subscriber, and a bookish friend here on YouTube for me. She was also ranting about this book in her Instagram stories while she was reading it. because the representation of medication for different mental health issues, she felt was definitely portrayed the wrong way. There is a homeopathic like looking down upon actual prescription medication for treatment. That is harmful to somebody who feels like that is a necessary step for them in their mental health. So if you feel like you need to take that medication, for your mental health and then this book is saying you shouldn’t be doing that. Try x-y-z herbs or oils or whatever. That could be harmful. And that could make you feel you like what you’re doing is wrong or what you’re doing isn’t right et cetera. So that’s how she felt about that particular section of the book. I can’t speak to foster care systems. I can’t speak to how many kids fall through the cracks. I know statistically it’s more than don’t you know. I know that the foster care system has problems like this. I know that there’s issues where situations like this occur. Where kids are at risk and people you know can’t figure it out in time, and that’s not a spoiler. It’s very obviously what this book is going to be about this is a debut novel by Robin Roe. And that she drawed upon personal experience while writing this. So again, I can’t speak to anybody’s personal experience in foster care systems or in these situations. I am so thankful that this story is not my life. I think that there’s plenty of books where I have been able to empathize and feel for and get emotionally invested in characters, even though I had nothing in common with them. The story still was gripping. I’m not devaluing anybody’s life experiences. I’m not devaluing her life experience. I’m not saying that it was portrayed incorrectly. I’m not saying anything about the actual specifics of the story. I felt like Robin was counting on you to care. And for one shocking situation after another to occur, for you to be heartbroken over. But without giving you any real reason, you know. That the character depth wasn’t there for me to get invested enough to care. And I think that she was riding on these plot points to move the reader and the story forward. As opposed to, like actually writing the characters in a way where you were gripped enough. I think my favorite character in this was Charlie, who was a friend of Adam’s and a side character I felt like he was the most well-written in terms of character arc and development and motivation. I felt the most towards Charlie. And I shouldn’t have and I think that’s the point. Is that I shouldn’t have cared most about him as opposed to the two main characters in this story. I’m not saying that this is not an accurate portrayal of kids that fall through the cracks in the system. Or the foster care system or anything else that takes place in this book. I am not speaking on the accuracy of that portrayal. I’m just speaking to my connection to the writing style and to the characters. That’s gonna happen in books. You’re not always going to connect to everything. But I was very shocked by how glowing all the recommendations and the reviews for this was. And then how I didn’t connect like there’s just two very solid ends of the spectrum here between where everybody else seems to be, and where I was on this book. So unfortunately, this was not a win for me, but it’s bound to happen. They’re not all gonna be great books for me personally. But I hope that you have read and enjoyed it. Never say I didn’t like this book, don’t go read it. I think everybody should form their own opinions. I don’t think that it’s necessarily – I don’t think it’s problematic to a point where you shouldn’t go see for yourself. I’m just letting you know a different opinion than what I personally saw out on Booktube. So I wanted to just kind of voice my thoughts on the book. I would love to know yours down below. Again, I will have listed down below the live show for the particular book which has not occurred yet when I’m filming this. But it will take place next week prior to this video going up. So if you want to know more about everybody else’s thoughts from the book club. You can head over there and get them. the chat room goes away when the live show airs, but we try to verbalize as much of the chat room comments as possible, so that they stay archived in the discussion. I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. If you did, be sure to give me a big old thumbs up click subscribe And I will see all of you in my next video. Bye, guys.

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