The Boy Who Steals Houses is utterly heartbreaking. I felt so sad and emotionally invested in the main character that it was almost impossible to read this book, it just hurt so much.
“I had nowhere to go, he wants to say. I’m the boy of nothing and nowhere. I’m invisible and forgotten, a thief of dust and cobwebs and house keys.”
Sammy Lou is a fifteen-year-old boy who has been betrayed and abused by everyone who should take care of him and his older brother Avery who is autistic. Kicked out from his aunt’s house, he does the only thing he can to stay off the streets each night, look after his older brother and create something that reminds him of a home – he steals houses. But when Sammy steals a house that is occupied and is still there when the owners return, he somehow finds himself swept up in the big, loud and busy family who lives there. (So busy that they fail to realise they have another live-in friend to the kids.)
I rooted for Sammy right from the start and it broke my heart to learn about his story of abuse and neglect, and how he still kept himself going and taking care of his demanding brother. He is by no means perfect though. He makes a lot of bad choices, some that really raises questions of morality, and he has severe trust issues that make him hold back and miss out on chances for happiness.
But no matter how sad the story itself is, C.G Drews manages to write it in such a way that it’s also funny and with lighthearted, hopeful moments. I absolutely love the family that Sammy strangely became a part of (even though some parts of how that came to be and the reaction when he was found out was slightly unrealistic, but that’s just a minor objection), how loving and caring the dad was and the fun banter going on between the siblings. Finally Sammy got a taste of what a home and a family really means. And the romance that starts to blossom is so sweet.
“I like your eyes,” she says. “They look like infinite blue skies of possibilities.”
The Boy Who Steals Houses is not an easy read - you should be prepared to get your heart broken before entering into it. It’s a complex and emotionally devastating story that contains abuse, homelessness, betrayal and violence. But it’s also a story about the importance of support, family and belonging, and a story full of hope that will end up stealing your heart the same way Sammy steals houses.
Find out more about the book and the author here: C.G. Drews