The Boy Who Steals Houses – Review

So I’m trying something a bit different with this blog just now, let’s start with a book review!

The Boy Who Steals Houses

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I absolutely adored Cait’s first novel, A Thousand Perfect Notes so when I found out this was coming out, it went straight onto my pre-order list.

I think it would be grossly underestimating the little book by describing it simply as a contemporary YA romance.

Before we continue I just have to say how much I love Cait’s writing style, it’s so lyrical and poetic like:

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

Or

‘Then he walks while slivers of hope fall out of his pockets and splinter on the ground’

Somehow her words are magical but can also gut-punch you so hard you’re sobbing.

Full disclosure: I had to stop reading at one point because I was crying so much my glasses fogged. So yea I adored this book even though it made me cry.

I’m really into reading about sibling relationships right now, possibly because it’s a major theme in my own writing but I think Cait has surpassed herself this time.

I really liked how she managed to balance a very understanding and respectful portrayal of autism with the reality of having a sibling – of growing up knowing they are different* but being willing to fight for them because they’re your sibling and that’s what you do. I read somewhere that this is an #ownvoices rep for autism and anxiety and I can get that.

Sam is in one word, adorable. While I did fall in love with him for his unwavering support and care (and fear for) his brother I also could identify with him through his need of finding safety – of finding a home that fits him – and he fits into perfectly.

I think the danger would be that the story would focus too heavily on Avery, and Sam’s love and care for him – this is an #ownvoices story about autism but it’s made clear that it’s not only about autism. It also deals so well with the post traumatic effects of growing up in both a physically and emotionally abusive household for Sam. Is it a nervous tic that makes him steal houses – or the keys at least – or is it his way of coping with his isolated and troublesome world?

Of course, there are romantic elements – Sam falls for Moxie. In a way that only a scared, abandoned boy can – by falling in love with her family first. But romance aside (because really, would the book fail if it didn’t have the romantic relationship between Sam and Moxie? I don’t think so) this is a book about falling in love with safety; with a chance for a family – however patchwork and broken it might be.

You see, I could probably keep going on but there are only so many ways I can say that I adored this book. While both are standalone this and A Thousand Perfect Notes fit each other perfectly – from having a male POV to dealing with various forms of love, abuse, anger and hope. I can’t wait to read more of Cait’s stuff!

 

 

 

 

*while I am not neurodiverse myself, I have grown up with a sibling and dealing with the effects of disability between us and sibling rivalry. It’s a hard balance and I think Cait does it wonderfully.

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