Obviously, you can tell by the title and graphic that I freaking loved this book. And I am going to talk about why. But also, I am calling it: I don’t think it’s actually possible for Cait to write anything less than awesomeness? Just saying. 🤷♀️The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
Published by Orchard Books on April 4, 2019
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
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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.
Ooooh friends, Cait has outdone herself. That was legit my first thought when I finished this book. Like, I really freaking liked A Thousand Perfect Notes. But I am glad that I saved my elusive “favorites bell” for this one, because it just blew me away. And now, I shall tell you why.
- How the hell does Cait write in a way that makes you forget you’re reading? Look, no matter how much I like a book, I am a pretty consistent “how far did I get?” reader. That’s just how I roll. But an actual hour passed without me once looking at my Kindle and I genuinely couldn’t believe it. This happens to me so, so rarely, and it’s only the most special of books that can do it. But when I was reading this book, I felt like I was among friends– it didn’t feel like reading, it felt… natural.
- The characters are the most precious cinnamon rolls in the history of baked goods. SAM. I adore thee. I actually worried a little about the premise when I first heard it- would I be able to empathize with a dude who is literally breaking the law on the reg? Um, yes, you ridiculous fool, of course you will! Sam had a special place in my heart from moment one because my son Sam is also a precious cinnamon roll, but also, because this Sam is so fiercely protective of his brother Avery. Their love and devotion simply oozes off the page, and tbh we do not see enough strong brother relationships in books like… ever.
- Okay this kind of goes along with that last point but… holy crap I am in love with the De Lainey family. Can they adopt me? Or maybe I have to adopt them I am kind of sketchy on the details but I need them okay? This family is just… everything. And I know that isn’t the best way to describe something, but just trust me that you need them in your life. I still think about them like, every time I read about any other family because no one will ever compare, sorry everyone else.
- #Ownvoices autism rep! For me, the best thing about this was how completely authentic the representation of Avery was, but also how completely on point the stigma he faced was. I have worked for over a decade with kids with autism, and I know one of the biggest struggles for families is what happens when they aren’t little kids with autism anymore- because the world simply is less kind to adults with autism. The author wrote all about her #ownvoices experience here, so be sure to check this out for more in depth discussion!
- Good lord, the feels! I sobbed like a baby, I won’t lie to you. There were laughs obviously, and happy tears, but this book gut punched me quite a few times. These beautiful humans, being so wholly unwanted, it’s devastating. And it is devastating because this stuff happens and it is so mind-blowingly unfair that it’s hard to process.
- It deals with some gritty topics, but they’re handled with care. I mean, you’ve got youth homelessness, legal trouble, and abuse, to name a few, but they are all done really well. The fact that the characters have these flaws only makes them more relatable, and makes you want them to succeed that much more.
Bottom Line: I devoured this book. It tackles some seriously tough issues with grace through the stories of characters you can’t help but fall in love with.
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