Cover Image: Surrender Your Sons

Surrender Your Sons

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Member Reviews

I'm back on my bullshit, trying to get to some long neglected Netgalley ARCs and this felt like as good a place as any to go next.

Y'all... I loved this book. I don't know if it's the quaint charm of the accent the audiobook narrator used or how it was giving me Holes, but make it queer, but all the puzzle pieces really fit together on this one.

I don't think that a book that is looking to tackle kids getting kidnapped and taken to a conversion camp on a Costa Rican island could be all that optimistic, but this sort of straddles that line? It's a little bleak, but grounded in a realism that still allows the reader to feel for hope but never tries to undercut itself by becoming overly saccharine in the last act of the book. It allows the reader to stew in the melancholy and grapple with the realness. 

I was gagged several times while listening to the narration. Both because I didn't expect the book to go to all of the places that it went, and because I was allowing myself to appreciate all the moments of triumph the book was giving me. 

All in all it was an excellent way to kick off my September, and I'm happy that I have an ARC of Sass' next book to help comfort me after having this experiences.

<i>Surrender Your Sons</i> has also made me a believer in the time crunch novel again. I think it was helped by the fact that the plot of the book doesn't really hang on the limited time frame until you're well into the book. Up until then it doesn't really cross the readers mind just how long the narrative is going to go on for and that was to the book's benefit. Without the ticking clock running in the back of my mind I was better able to appreciate the looming clock I had been unaware of.
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**Thank you, Netgalley and publisher, for giving me an electronic ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.** 

Surrender your sons is a gripping tale filled with drama and secrets. However, I was not expecting such graphic descriptions while reading this YA book. I also feel like the story went by quickly within a couple of days and that if the story was able to span out it would have been better.
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Intense, ultra-exciting and queer. Adam Sass's dark youth thriller convinces not only with a gripping plot, but also with believable characters. Connor and his fateful companions are all queer in different ways – all without being stereotypes. This is the representation we need!
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It took me ages to get into the feel of this book (about 2 years), but when I finally did, it was worth it.
It's a whole adventure, but also highly emotional. It also kept me awake and surprised at every turn. Maybe too awake, because it happened quickly and I think it would have been better if the story was allowed to span out a bit.

A good book, though.
/ Denise
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Check out my queer weekend readathon vlog from back in September 2020 (Josh's Bookish Voyage).

Thanks to NetGalley for an e-arc of this in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Surrender Your Sons is the story of a young queer boy in a religious family where his mom sends him to gay conversion camp. It's essentially a YA thriller. The scenario tries create a serious threat but one that's never really successful. Despite being focused on a near adult aged teen, it feels very tame. In the end, it went darker than I expected, but the YA writing still kinda fell flat for me. It may just be that it isn't the book for me since I am an adult. In retrospect, I may have been overly critical. It felt like the story wasn't particularly unique. I see the value of this story, but I find it hard to believe it hasn't been done before. In the end, I have mixed feelings. Not a bad book but not for me either.

3.5/5 stars
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This was amazing! Adam Sass is an amazing voice for Queer Literature! This book took me on a wild ride I never saw coming! There were parts of this book that just hit home for me! I can’t wait to read more from Adam in the future!
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For some reason, even if it is one of the most tagged genres of this book, I didn't expect it to be a thriller, or the thriller aspect to be an important part of the book.

Nevertheless, this is not something negative about it. It made it more interesting, but also more intense, mysterious and sometimes shocking, because I was not expecting such violence or graphic descriptions. It's a YA book and at points it seemed too raw for a young audience.

However, it had a nice twist to the usual YA literature, being more gruesome and dangerous.

CW: queerphobia, conversion therapy, graphic murder, hate crimes, sex scenes.
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Whew, this book sucks you in and does not let go! Connor, our protagonist, ends up at a conversion camp after bombing the SATs. The camp is populated by a mysterious director and counselors who has supposedly "recovered" from their homosexuality. Connor bands together with his fellow campmates to discover the truth about the camp, experiences romance, and find a little hope in the darkness. This was heartbreaking, sad, and thrilling all at the same time. Our library will be adding this to our collection.
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Unfortunately, I had to DNF this title, as I could not get into the writing style and I knew it would not be fair for me to continue reading it knowing I would not like it. I think the concept has a lot of potential, so if the writing style is up your alley I definitely think it would be worth it to pick up!
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I really liked the plot of this book, and got drawn into the life of the protagonist, however I had some issues with the writing style and found at some points that I was struggling through
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I was not able to finish Surrender Your Sons. It was a lot different than I thought it was going to be and it was a little hard for me to read due to the subject matter. I think a lot of people will like this book and it's super important. I chose not to review it, because I didn't want to sour anyone's first thoughts or opinions before they gave it a chance, because I wasn't able to actually finish reading the book and I think others will like it.
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Great thriller, as well as a coming of age story. i really enjoyed the writing style and will definitely read Adam Sass's next book.
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I haven't really been a huge fan of thrillers, but this was really good! It kept me on the edge of the seat the whole time! I will for sure be rereading this book again some day.
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The beginning seemed promising, but alas— The story takes place over 1-2 days, and I don’t know why; it felt so rushed at times, but also it dragged so badly. The only interesting protagonist got killed off for no good reason while being severely underdeveloped (like all the characters); the antagonists were more interesting than the protagonists, and they didn’t impress me too much either. The plot twists honestly felt irrelevant; I didn’t care about the plot beyond the kidnapping and escape aspect, and it came off as sloppy to me. The romances were awful, although I think that was the point in one case, but that doesn’t excuse the other, which felt way too unbelievable and trope-y. The ending wants to be clever, but it just came off as illogical to me. I really hope this is a stand-alone... I will say, Sass is very witty though, and I’d be open to trying another story from him in the future. There was a lot of potential here, I just didn’t really vibe with most of the execution. 2.5/5 stars.
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This book talks about tough subjects to say the least. However, Adam does it very well and handles the subject with a lot of care from what I have read. The book also has some mystery and adventure mixed into this hard topic which makes the story not only very unique, but also helps with story flow. Overall, a good book that I would recommend if you feel comfortable with reading about someone being sent to conversion therapy.
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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book.

DNF @ 15%

I knew pretty early on that this book wouldn’t be for me, so I've decided to put it down at the 15% mark instead of forcing myself to finish. 

I definitely recommend checking out other reviews as this was a “me not you” situation. I really liked the writing style and I’ll definitely read more by this author in the future, but I just found myself feeling on edge and anxious throughout.
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Adam's debut is a phenomenal and terrifying story! I couldn't put this down and it kept me up at night, turning pages until I finished. So good!
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I read most of SURRENDER YOUR SONS in one night. I won't sugarcoat: the subject matter is emotionally brutal, but it's well plotted and the tone is ultimately one of triumph. I especially appreciate the way Sass illustrated the aftermath of the characters' experiences in the camp, because he was clear that his characters suffered traumas that don't disappear overnight while remaining hopeful -- their lives are undeniably better when surrounded by people who love and accept them as they are.
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Opinions: I cannot express in simple words how incredibly important of a read Surrender Your Sons is for all teenagers, whether they're LGBTQ+ members or allies. 

Per the educational side, each chapter will induce tears as readers learn about the horrors past, present, and potentially future queer people face, including but not limited to being forced to break up with partners, being refused transitional support, facing abusive conversion therapy, and being torn apart from family members. Sass did not make any sacrifices when it came to sharing the truth, even if it means needing to include a trigger warning in the beginning of the book. On top of the straightforward facts, readers will also receive some insight into the motifs of perseverance, self-respect, loyalty, friendship, and surprisingly the value of investigation! However, "some" is the key word in that sentence because while I believe Surrender Your Sons is heartbreaking and raw, no reader will understand what the characters felt unless they experience the atrocities themselves. On the other hand, Surrender Your Sons certainly provides more perspective than any other YA LGBTQ book I've read, meaning the themes are certainly relevant and inspiring. 

Looking past the educational side, Sass has a beguiling writing style that will keep all readers on the edge of their seat. Due to my OCD, I always read the first 10% of a book, the last 10%, and then start over from the beginning. However, I was so enamored by the heart-wrenching cliff hangers, deplorable conflicts Connor faces, and life-altering plot-twists that I could not bear to spoil the read! Do you know how amazing a book must be in order to ignore a mental health condition? There is nothing else I can say to persuade you to read Surrender Your Sons. You will bawl in sorrow, shriek from laughter, and spend hours of your day thinking about the masterpiece you read. If I could give a sixth star, I would.

My Favourite Thing: I think you've heard enough about my fondness of the themes, so I'll obsess over my next favourite thing: the diversity! I give full credit to Sass for filling Surrender Your Sons with different religions, gender and sexual identities, and races. Every character was unique, starting from the imagery used to describe their physical features to the depth and complexities of their personalities. Without an intricate cast of pertinent peoples, Surrender Your Sons would not be as rich and resonating as it is.

My Least Favourite Thing: With all intentions of being frank, I personally believe there is nothing wrong with Surrender Your Sons. Rightfully so, some readers may find the topics of discussion difficult, but for me, it was just intense enough to spark change. 

Recommended For and Similar Reads: Surrender Your Sons is a thematic, tear-jerking, provocative for LGBTQ+ and ally teenagers. Similar reads are We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia, Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye, Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, Lost in the Never Woods by Aidan Thomas, Cemetery Boys by Aidan Thomas, Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington, I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, Out Now, and Jack of All Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev Rosen! I fully recommend Surrender Your Sons.
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This was my first ARC, thank you for access and taking a chance on a new user. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book. Connor is such a raw character and I can feel my queer younger self yearning for love and acceptance but simultaneously afraid of what that acceptance might bring.

I found myself in love with the scenario but I sort of wished it pushed further. I know a lot of people have issue with the amount of traumatic experiences Connor witnesses, but I think they were a bit bland. Maybe bland isn't the right word. The whole experience very much ends a little campy. Or like a good episode of a bad soap opera. 

I'm frustrated with this novel because it SHOULD have been a must-read but it's held back by the fact that the bulk of the novel takes place over a day when these characters could have been fleshed out over weeks on this island. The climax happens in a flash and there's an awkward sex scene that makes me wonder if the characters are actually afraid for their lives. The book is fantastic for about the first 75% and then it goes off the rails.

I wanted more and simultaneously less. That being said, I'm very excited to see what else this author rights. I think this was a great first novel and I'm ready to see more queer stories. If I have anything to criticize, it's to let your work breathe a little more and to ponder motivation a little longer.
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