This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
Published by Orchard Books on April 4, 2019
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
How would the fairytale have ended if the bears didn’t chase Goldilocks away?
That’s a slightly spoilerish introduction to CG Drews’ latest book, The Boy Who Steals Houses. But it’s the spoiler-level I wish I had. I had a very hard time reading this. Sam is the main character, and he’s had a hard life. His mom disappeared early leaving him and his autistic brother with their dad. Then their dad left (I think prison, but it’s not important really) and dropped them with an aunt who begrudgingly accepted them. That didn’t last after Sam was caught fighting one too many times (protecting his brother, Avery from bullies), and Avery left with him. That’s when Sam was Goldilocks sneaking into empty houses to find one “just right”.
As with Cait’s first novel, The Boy Who Steals Houses is real, raw and heart-wrenching, but with lovable characters. That’s why I needed a spoiler. I felt such an emotional attachment to Sam I couldn’t bring myself to read the novel. Bad things always happen in stories to create a happily ever after, and I was too work and school overwhelmed and the idea of seeing Sam suffering was too much. That feels silly now typing it, but it’s how I felt.
So, I’ve mentioned the violence, and autism, and homelessness, but this story is more than two brothers struggling. Sam breaks into the De Lainey house, which to him looks like the perfect family, but has its own issues. With a mass of children and a recently single dad doing his best, he gets assimilated in. Of course it’s going to fall apart. Avery is staying with a woman who’s using him to commit crimes. Summer’s going to end and Sam’s going to be found out.
I didn’t realize A Thousand Perfect Notes was a modern Australian telling of Beethoven’s life, and while reading The Boy Who Steals Houses, I didn’t think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, even though I knew it was a retelling. Cait has written an original story and done it very well.
Oh, and while we accept I cry at anything, Cait does have me two for two crying with her books.
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