Parents' Guide to


By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Dose of fantasy adds to thoughtful coming-of-age tale.

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Veteran author Patrick Ness gives us a thought-provoking blend of a life-changing day for relatable teen Adam with the eerie, intriguing story of a murder victim's ghost seeking answers. Teens will relate to Adam as he longs for Release from his super-strict parents' rules and from his frustration at having to hide an important part of who he is from them. They'll also relate to his struggles as one by one, the ties that bind him to the life he's always known come undone.

Release is best for readers who enjoy ghostly, spirit-world fantasy, too, because there's a strong dose of that interwoven into the story of a day in Adam's life. Readers who prefer to stay grounded in reality may not enjoy the fantasy interruptions as the story goes back and forth between the two elements. But for those who can go along for the ride, it'll provide a lot of food for thought about life, letting go, and how the littlest things sometimes turn out to make the biggest differences.

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