The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

Rating: ★★★★★

Publication date: April 4, 2019

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.


Thank you to the author and the publisher for providing me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

TW: domestic abuse, violence

CAIT HAS DONE IT AGAIN. How can she write the most beautifully heartbreaking books??? My heart is is too soft for this. A Thousand Perfect Notes was one of my favorite reads of last year and now I’ve just added The Boy Who Steals Houses to my 2019 Favorites list. I hardly read books outside the fantasy genre but I can’t help reading Cait’s YA Contemporary books because I know they’re bound to be phenomenal.

She didn’t disappoint, folks.


The Boy Who Steals Houses has a really unique premise. It’s actually a Goldilocks retelling where two homeless boys try to get through life by breaking into houses. You can safely assume that I was perpetually in pain while reading because Sam and Avery deserve better lives than thieving and stealing their way to survival.

‘We’re stealing a house, because you know what we need?’

Avery shakes his head.

‘We are the kings of nowhere,’ Sammy says. ‘We only need us.’

He’s a very good liar.

It also shows dymanics between two siblings which I especially admired. Their relationship isn’t perfect (there isn’t any perfect sibling relationship of course. Y’all should see me and my sister fighting over who washes the dishes) but they always end up running back to each other every single time. Avery is autistic and Sam is the only one who fully understands him. He will fight tooth and nail to protect Avery even if it kills him.

Sam spends his life hitting the world and smoothing over the rusty corners so Avery won’t fall and hurt himself.

• ‎Sam appears so raw and I just…love him so much okay?? Making bad decisions is Sammy Lou’s brand. While reading some parts in the book, I was torn between screaming at him and hugging him fifteen times. He’s an extremely flawed character but one¹ can’t help but have these protective feelings for him. His anxiety also feels too real. I can especially relate to the sweaty palms (my palms have been cursed by ten river gods and I honestly don’t know why I offended them)  and the feeling of not being able to fit into a world full of people. The anxiety rep in this book is so well-written, that’s for sure.

¹I am the one. I will protect Sammy Lou with my life.

‎C.G. Drews’ writing style makes mundane life magical and I AM IN LOVE. I mentioned in my A Thousand Perfect Notes review that she has this soulful way of writing that I loved seeing again in TBWSH. The descriptions and the metaphors make a full-course meal that fed my bookdragon soul.

He can’t believe he’s still clawing for the impossible wish of having his own home. But he needs a dream as big as the moon or else he’s just an invisible boy with empty hands.

• ‎It captures the chaos and the charm of a big family

THE DE LAINEYS CAN ADOPT ME RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. Okay, scratch that. My mom wouldn’t be pleased if she hears about this.

Sam’s life gets even more complicated when he gets tangled up (quite literally) with the De Laineys. They are people who don’t believe that “organization” is a real word and know all too well that peace is a far-fetched dream in a house full of screaming babies, stabby sisters, and dynamic older brothers.

The chaos of a big family is told vividly in this book and I enjoyed every word of the De Laineys’ spontaneous banter. Y’ALL NEED TO MEET EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. No words can express my love for all these fireballs.

Footsteps pad upstairs and the De Lainey father’s voice trails down, softly warning.

‘Jack. If I have to pull up your language one more time tonight, you’re losing your phone.’

‘Child abuse,’ Jack mutters. ‘How is his hearing so good?’

Jeremy pats his shoulder. ‘Only for you and your swearing, buddy. If we’re asking to use the car, he can’t hear a thing.’


Here’s the thing: Moxie is a force to be reckoned with and she’s a legend who deserves hundreds of epic poems to her name. C.G. Drews writes all the iconic female characters and I want to give her a hundred boxes of cakes for that.

He walks next to Moxie, because the others’ wildness is equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Plus Moxie moves with a grim, no-nonsense look on her face, like getting to the beach is a mission and she’ll achieve it no matter what. It’s comforting to be near someone who knows how to get what they want.

Moxie and Sam have this pure chemistry that made me scream silently with all the feels. They went from enemies to lovers through the help of caramel and if that’s not the proof of the power of food, I don’t know what is. I LOVE THEM BOTH SO MUCH.

• ‎It’s a heartbreaking story full of love and hope

It’s not a book written by Cait if it doesn’t make you cry at least ten buckets of tears. TBWSH has its fluff and funny dialogues but it also has its gut-wrenching moments that will make you sob long after you’ve finished reading it. You need to read the book to know what I mean but this one’s for sure: Sammy Lou will steal your hearts just as he steals houses so guard it fiercely. You have been warned.


All the quotes used in this review are from the e-ARC provided by the publisher and may be subject to change upon publication.




Is The Boy Who Steals Houses on your TBR? If yes, how excited are you for it? Do you love reading YA Contemporary books?



    I am so glad to hear that her second book lives up to the hype (not that I had any doubts, of course). I am not proud of the fact, but I haven’t read A thousand Perfect Notes yet. I made sure to preorder it to support her, but for some not good reason I haven’t read it yet.

    Anyway, like you I mostly read fantasy. Contemporary isn’t really my cup of tea, but I will venture outside my comfort zone to support such an amazing blogger, authors, and world dominator.


    1. AAAHHH SAME. For Cait I will break all my reading boundaries. Read ATPN soon! I hope you get to read TBWSH when it releases too. Let’s support the cake blogging queen!


  2. I don’t read much YA Contemporary but this one has been so well reviewed that I really find myself excited to read it, and let’s face it, you’ve given such great insight it would be hard not to be excited about this book, great review!


  3. Fantastic review! This sounds like a wonderful YA contemporary book, honestly, I haven’t read anything by this author but the premise of the story sounds really compelling, tear-jerking and engrossing. I will add this book to my TBR!


  4. Extremely excited and looking forward to read this, it’s a relief to see that yourated it 5 stars! All the more reason for me to grab one soon 😁 Great review!


  5. I already knew I *had* to read this one because I’ve heard so many good things about Cait/C.G. Drews and ATPN and this book, but if I had any remaining doubts your review has sealed the deal, Rain! I’m already half in love with the characters (hello wow I am so here for all kinds of sibling relationships and general family dynamics), the premise is making me tear up just a little (a lot), and your enthusiasm is contagious 💕


    1. AAAHHH THANK YOU SO MUCH. I’m glad I convinced you to read Cait’s works! The Boy Who Steals Houses is simply heartbreaking in its excellence. I hope you get to read it soon. Release date is sooo close!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I’m similar to you! I don’t read much contemporary but I have trusted authors from the genre. Cait is one of them. I really hope you give this book a shot because it’s THAT good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am more of a fantasy kinda girl but I think I am going to read this. It has autistic rep and your enthousiasm just makes me happy already!!


    1. I’m a fantasy trash too but I really trust Cait as an author! I broke my fantasy streak for her and I’ve got no regrets. TBWSH is an absolute gem.


    1. You don’t know how much this means to me! I can’t believe my review really has an impact to bookdragons. I hope you get to read TBWSH soon. It’s phenomenal.


  7. This sounds like a wonderful book. I read the blurb when the book was first released, and I thought that the premise sounded unusual. Sounds like the author executed her idea well. Tears in the reader is (almost) always a good thing! (“Almost” because I’ve almost cried from boredom over some things I was forced to read for college.)


    1. Ah you won’t cry from boredom with this one! It’s really a heartbreaking book. FOR REAL. It has a unique premise and it’s really well-written. A must-read for every bookdragon out there.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my honor! I’m so happy that I helped in introducing this book to many bookdragons. This book truly deserves everything 💛


  8. I just read TBWSH last week and it was so good! I love that it was a Goldilocks retelling, and I love the sibling relationships. You mentioned Sam’s rawness, and that is so true. He felt real and relatable. You want to hug him and scream at him at the same time because you just want him to be okay and he sometimes can’t see how to get there at all. I love him so much. Also the De Laineys!!! We all need someone to help us get back up after we’ve been beaten down, and the De Laineys did that for Sam.
    Awesome review, by the way! I love how you incorporated quotes throughout. It really captures the essence of the story. Well done!


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