The Boy Who Steals Houses is a poignant novel about two broken, abandoned boys trying to find a place to belong, and the younger brother who desperately wants to protect his sibling. It’s both a sweet love story between two teenagers with tough pasts and an emotional journey to find people to call family.
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.
“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.”
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.) He also finds himself falling in love with the daughter in the house, Moxie.
Sammy is a somewhat unreliable main character. 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 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. I just so much wanted to hug him and tell him that everything is going to be fine.
The plot is told through present tense with some flashbacks to ‘before’ when Sam and Avery had a home. These flashbacks all held a mystery surrounding Sam and something illegal he’s committed, causing him to run from the police. But when the mystery was finally revealed at the end, it was quite underwhelming unfortunately. But I absolutely loved 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), 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 was 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; in fact, it’s the absolute opposite of cute and fluffy. 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.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens Deonn Tracy D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez