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.
MORE THOUGHTS ON THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES:
• 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.’
• MOXIE AND SAM GAVE ME ALL THE FEELS
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.
THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES WILL BE OUT ON APRIL 4TH. PRE-ORDER AND SUPPORT IT, BOOKDRAGONS!
Is The Boy Who Steals Houses on your TBR? If yes, how excited are you for it? Do you love reading YA Contemporary books?