As soon as I heard about Surrender your Sons it’s been on my radar. It’s definitely one of my most anticipated queer books of the year. So many people I know have loved it and that just made me more excited and intrigued. But did it disappoint? Read more to find out. I won’t keep you in suspense (like this book will) and I’ll tell you that I loved this book. It met all my expectations and surpassed them. It was suspenseful, thrilling, romantic and honest. This book centres around teenagers at a gay conversion camp. And there were points in this novel when I couldn’t believe any of it was true. But of course it is, I think mainly I don’t want these kind of camps to be true, and I think it’s a testament Adams writing that he captures the horror and brutality of the situation and it just made the whole book believable. He captures the atmosphere perfectly which really makes book stands out. You’ll love the teenagers in this book especially the main character of Connor. I also loved that Adam has given every character depth, even the ones we There was also something I didn’t expect in this book was the romance. How can a romance blossom in this situation and work? But trust me, it did work. Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you, but it really does work. Again it’s another showcase of Adams brilliant writing and talent. It gave me everything I want in a romance. It also gave the novel some hope, which was nice as the book is very The story really goes to places I didn’t expect, which obviously makes it excellent. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it for you but when the kids start to fight back against the councillors it just adds so many layers to the story. It became so intense. You could really feel the story building up to its thrilling climax. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough (I was reading it on kindle but you know what I mean). It was full of twists and turns and so many things surprised me. It really was a fantastic ending. This is Adams debut novel, and it’s such a strong book. He manages to capture all the horror, the darkness, yet he manages to show hope and vulnerability. It takes real talent to blend all these cohesively. It’s so real. Also with this book being about Conversion Camps, it packs a powerful message. Ultimately, I think, it shows you that queerness is a power and we always need more books like this. I would definitely recommend this book to you, as I’m sure you can tell. Don’t miss this one. I think I might’ve convinced myself to re-read it. I’ll look forward to reading what Adam does next.
Compelling tale of kids sent to conversion camp to force the gay away. The abusive nature of this is a troublesome concept, and I am glad there are some books and movie addressing this topic. I really enjoyed this, but the pacing was quite inconsistent, with the last part being too much crammed in.
Conversion camp is evil on its own but this is next level twisted. Every kid that survives is a hero. The ending continues to punch after you think the punches are done.
Surrender Your Sons was a completely messed up book. Just wow. I had no idea what I was walking into but I also couldn't look away from it either. Oh lord, this book was so sad that I felt my heart strings being pulled and twisted throughout the entire book.
No idea if these places actually exist to this day, but shame on parents who do this. I don't know how many times I wished I could reach into a book just to knock some sense into a person. Especially when it came to Connors' mom. She really needed a reality check and maybe a visit from baby Jesus every now and then.
A brilliant debut novel from a writer whose star is only beginning to shine. This novel is a must read.
I’m having a tough time determining how I feel about this book. There were some things that I really liked about the book and some things that I didn’t care for. It was a slow book at the beginning. The end definitely picked up and was more enjoyable. I think some people will love this but it ended up just being alright.
Surrender Your Sons was an expertly crafted story. Without spoiling anything, I will say that it required a little bit of suspension of disbelief for some of the more action-oriented scenes, but sadly, the overall idea behind it (a gay teen gets sent off to an out-of-country ex-gay conversion camp by his ultra-religious mother) was all-too-believable. Sass calls attention to something that is still an important issue despite how much many of us wish it was a thing of the distant past. I had a few minor gripes with the book -- some of the religious language made it seem like maybe the camp was run by a Catholic priest, for example, but then we find out it was previously run by his father, also a minister, so it seems like they weren't Catholic -- but overall, I would recommend the book.
Although this book had a slow start with the set up of Connor's situation, I ended up finishing it rather quickly once I got into it because I just had to know what happened.
I liked Connor's humor and snarkiness in this. He had some great internal dialogue that made me actually laugh out loud. He may not be mighty in size and strength but he is mighty in snark.
I kind of wished they spent more time at the camp. It took me out of the story a little when it would mention that they were only there a day and all this stuff had already happened. I think it would have made more sense to have it be like a week or something. (Also appreciate the Lord of the Flies reference because I was thinking it and then they said it).
I also liked the conversation this book brought up about pushing people out of the closet when it might not be safe for them to do so. It's an important discussion that needs to be had in the LGBTQ+ community.
I look forward to reading more if there is more.
This book was son incredibly entertaining. It was so outlandish, but I loved every second of it. I found myself laughing so hard at so many points in the story. I was actually pretty disappointed when it was done. I can't wait to read more from this author.
You"ll find queer pain in this book. But it's not about queer pain. It's about what queers do with pain.
Pain is something queers deals with regularly, even if it's just occasional feelings, isolation and otherness. Queer people process pain in many ways, but a big one is through humor.
In #SurrenderYourSons, you'll find queer kids put through bad experiences and then sometimes, they'll make a joke about it.
The consequences of conversion therapy.
You'll find scary things in this book, but just like in life, when the trouble hits, you'll also find humor, good friends, and courage you couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams.
This book was a lot.... But I'd reccomend it always 🙌🏾. And it's officially out! Many thanks to the publisher @fluxbooks via #NetGalley for the eARC
DNF'd at 25%
I was excited to read Surrender Your Sons because there was a lot of early hype and conversion therapy has not been a topic that comes up regularly. However, I had a lot of problems with the book and I'd rather give it up instead of forcing to go through it. Firstly, the writing felt off and it was not polished at all, which I can overlook since I had an ARC. I haven't seen a finished copy, so I cannot say if this has been fixed. Although, the pacing was abysmal with too many flashbacks that caused a messy timeline.
Secondly, connecting with the main character, Connor, was difficult for me. He's very annoying and rather naive - his boyfriend was horrible, constantly pressuring Connor to come out, but despite feeling uncomfortable, Connor doesn't think what his boyfriend does is wrong. Lastly, I had trouble understanding some of the choices Sasss made. Here, the conversion therapy camp was located in Costa Rica, outside of US. It would have been more impactful to place the camp in the US soil in order to show that the camps still exists in the country.
Overall, there was so many things that bothered me. I also checked the other reviews and apparently there's cheating, and I'm not here for it at all, no matter how horrible Connor's boyfriend is. The topic is important and I hope there will be other books to discuss the conversion therapy and the incredible damage it does to people. This one just isn't for me.
I finished Surrender Your Sons in the morning at a time where most people should be asleep, but it was totally worth it! SyS is about Connor, who gets shipped off to this mysterious conversion therapy camp (booooooo👎👎👎) where things happen (real specific, I know) and plans to fake his way out, but he runs his mouth off and gets in a whole lotta trouble *cough* Neil Josten *cough* the great Riko roast *cough*. I don’t really read thrillers/mysteries, but I really enjoyed it! Also JESUS HELL HOW IS THIS STUFF STILL LEGAL?? My last experience with conversion therapy was reading Boy Erased as just a very good ally, but it’s indefinitely more terrifying as a closeted minor, so uh...yay? ....anyway, it’s a great book with fantastic characters, so go buy it!!! (also just a warning that this book has some stuff about conversion therapy (duh), violence, physical abuse, homophobia, transphobia, murder, depression, suicide, a hate crime, and all the other great things that come with conversion therapy)
The main character was too immature and annoying to me. It was like reading from the perspective of someone who bases their entire vocabulary on Twitter. He is a teenager though, so maybe teenagers would like this book.
oh yessssss this book is the one!!! I have had the pleasure and feel very grateful to have been able to read this absolutely amazing novel early and I can not tell you how excited I am for surrender your sons to be released so everyone can experience this stunning Novel,One of my favs of the year I must add too.
This novel I feel will impact so many people and will become one that will be read for years to come and be a really important read that should be read by EVERYONE!!!
Adam Sass has created a one of the kind novel that is beautifully tragic and delves really deep into some really tough topics. side note be sure to check the CW for this one as this one doesn't hold back on how dark it goes. Its written so well and just has you clinging on to your seat and gets you entranced and need to know what twist and turns come next.
This novel is a story of fighting back, having power and showing to never give up!!! wether that's for something you believe in, for fighting what's right and most of all for fighting against people who try and make you try and be the person your not but you know what we say to that...a very important two words :)
everyone please please when this arrives in bookstores, online, independent bookstores go and buy this book!!! I cant express enough the importance of this novel.
❊ a gripping thriller that captivates you, a triggering read with the harsh reality of conversion camps, and a narrative voice that amplifies important, devastating, and heartbreaking themes through a great prose. ❊
➼ raw, unfiltered, harsh reality of a conservative parent, religious scrutiny, and the possibility of someone loved sending you miles away to a camp that guarantees to convert queers, is unravelled unflinchingly in this novel—leaving you shaken at times.
➼ a gay teen representation appreciated by majority of ownvoices readers so worth positively highlighting, and the broader aim of depicting LGBTQ+ characters fighting the overestimated homophobes who tried to shackle the queer is needed in YA stories.
➼ even in the midst of absolute horror, the growing solidarity flourishes into romantic and platonic relationships to ultimately speak the truth of emerging from darkness through the strength of love, friendship, and shared identity.
➼ excellent writing but the pacing sometimes falters, considering the entire story is set in a very short time span, and there exists the unintentional under-representation of the BIPOC side characters who contributed through way more effort but the story overpowers them by the white boy who conveniently saves everyone in a single day.
Ultimately, I feel like this book had more potential.
I really liked this book for its queerness, and the dangers that come with it. The way Connor's mom acts, the pastor, the conversion camp - all of it tugged on my heart and it conveyed exactly what the author wanted to say.
But the way this book handled certain things was questionable.
This book shows minimal awareness of how racism works from the eyes of a white protagonist. Although Connor understands and comments on racism and racist microaggression, he never does anything about it even on a personal level. The way the story is structured, it almost feels tied together by convenience because clues just fall into Connor's lap and he just conveniently hears conversations that might help him. The entire story happens along the course of a single day, which I found incredibly unbelievable given the amount of events that happen. The whole exposing and mystery solving of this conversion camp was worked on by two Black girls, and Connor just looks like big damn hero who barges in, makes life harder for everyone and somehow ends up saving them all. Too white saviour for me.
Although, I did enjoy the writing and the characters.
The topics in this book I feel are so relevant. We have a boy who has to hide who he really is from a very religious mother. He gets kidnapped and taken to a conversion camp to be turned straight, cause we all know that being gay is a choice. I think what's just crazy to me is that this is actually a thing that happens.
3.5 stars. I don't have a ton to say about this book, other than the concept is fantastically inventive and fun, but also hard to read. Connor Major is a 17-year-old from a small, rural town in Illinois, raised by a single mom, and just newly out of the closet at the urging of his boyfriend, Ario. His mom, a diehard Christian with a fanatic relationship with their town's Reverend, is not happy about the revelation that her son is gay - as "punishment," she confiscated his phone and put him on Meals on Wheels duty for the entire summer, making him deliver dinner to a bed-confined man named Ricky Hannigan.
One night, Connor wakes up to some strange men in his room - they kidnap him, clearly approved by his mother, and put him on a plane to Puerto Rico. Despite his best efforts to escape, Connor soon finds himself in a conversion therapy camp called Nightlight, run by none other than his hometown's Reverend. At first, Connor is fine to pretend the camp made him straight to get the hell out of there. But the more he learns about the camp, its other campers, and its nasty history - much to do with the Reverend and Ricky Hannigan - Connor can't bring himself to lie. He becomes determine to get to the root of what happened to Ricky and get him and his fellow campers back home.
I really didn't know a lot about conversion therapy before reading this book - to be honest, I thought it was an outdated and archaic practice that wasn't at all present in the US anymore. But silly me, of course it is - and the fact that it's frowned upon and banned in many states does mean that these camps can go overseas and be just fine, as long as the campers are under 18 and still under the control of their parents. Although it deals with difficult topics, this book actually turns out to be somewhat fun - almost like an escape or counterfactual fantasy. The teenagers are in control, and they fight back - which I'm guessing is rarely the case in real-life conversion therapy camps. The mystery with Ricky Hannigan is interesting, although I felt there was a bit too much emphasis on that narrative, and I didn't feel connected to the characters in the B-story.
Overall, this is a fun narrative, a quick read, and overall, an inventive new story. Thank you to the publisher for the ARC!
Ugh this book, this story. Connor is having a rough go. Made worse by his overly religious mother who ships him off for conversion therapy to a hell-like camp. I couldn’t put this book down.
When I read this one was set in a conversion camp, I braced myself.
The exposition surely hooked me: the oppressive home town; the controlling, holier-than-thou preacher, and the "kidnapping scene" were definitely promising, but then the book became about finding a way out of this island in the middle of nowhere. You'd think that would keep the momentum going, and in a way it did, but I just couldn't get over the secondary characters. The cast of characters who worked on the island were a motley crew of messed up people but I felt bad for them. I was never really invested in their getting their comeuppance.
The book was heart-pounding for sure, but the conversion camp's program, what little readers get to see of it, was not well-developed.