Thank you to Flux Books and NetGalley for my DRC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
TITLE: Surrender Your Sons
AUTHOR: Adam Sass
RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2020
SETTING: Illinois / Costa Rica
PUBLISHER: Flux Books
GENRE(S): YA, Contemporary, Thriller, LGBT, Hard Hitting
Connor Major’s summer break is turning into a nightmare.
His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and shipped off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes.”
But Connor’s troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide from the campers to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director, and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camp’s horrible truths for what they are— and taking this place down.
This was AMAZING!
When Connor Major’s beautiful out and proud boyfriend convinces him to come out to his mother, all hell breaks loose. But, this hell is a slow leak. After many attempts to make him admit he isn’t gay, she turns to the Reverend in town, a man she has been mooning over since she and her son arrived in the Illinois town from Florida years ago. Connor realizes he needs to get out of this house. There is nothing keeping him here. He isn’t doing great in school and his favorite meals on wheels client, Ricky has just passed away. He is never going to get his religious zealot mother to accept this part of him. Before he can escape though, he is taken in the night by men who, at his mother’s behest, take him to this Costa Rican “resort” run by the Reverend Packard.
Ricky leaves a cryptic message for Connor in his will and Connor doesn’t put it together until he realizes that this is no resort but a conversion therapy camp. Ricky had tried to warn him about it but it is too late. Little does Connor know, this camp is not only evil, but shrouded in lies and secrets. As he uncovers more of the truth, he connects the dots between the people who run the camp and the terrible events that they are hiding from the past. Connor swears to his dead friend Ricky, that he will get to the bottom of what really happened to Ricky. He will get the campers out of this awful place and away from these terrifying people holding them there.
Along the way, we meet his fellow campers, most of whom aide Connor in his endeavor to get away from these monsters. This cast of characters were all so wonderful. You feel so strongly for each of them, who have all gone through so much hardship just for being born the way they are. Parts of this book totally broke my heart, but Connor and his perseverance glued it all back together. He was a sassy, adorable character that will stay with me for a long time.