Adam Thorn's father is the head preacher of Frome, Washington's "second-largest evangelical church." "Blanched blond, tall, bulky in a way that might be handsome but is only just starting to properly agree with gravity," Adam takes after his father in both looks and charisma. But it is his older brother, Marty, who is following their father's steps into ministry. Adam, gay and out at school but closeted in his ultra-religious, ultra-conservative home, just wants to get "the hell out of Frome." His day today will be long--pick up flowers for his mother, work, see his boyfriend, attend a good-bye party for his first love--but there is no preparing for what will be revealed to him before the sun sets.

Katherine van Leuwen was a senior, one year above Adam. Last week, she was murdered; her boyfriend attacked her while "amped up" on meth. Katherine is most certainly dead. But when Adam makes his first stop of the day and pricks himself on a rose thorn, "she wakes, suddenly, to the smell of blood, of roses."

As Adam deals with his own confusing emotions about his ex and his current partner and attempts to hold himself up under the weight of family secrets, the spirit who was Katherine roams around the town, accompanied by a powerful faun, seeking... something. Vengeance? Understanding? Patrick Ness's (The Crane Wife, The Rest of Us Just Live Here) split narrative gives fans of both realism and fantasy entry into Release. Both stories move swiftly, pulling the reader through very different sides of the same town; neither Adam's nor Katherine's story needs the other but each highlights and reflects the sorrows and beauties of the other. An exploration of what it is to love and lose, heal and love again. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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