Review: The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drew

The Boy Who Steals Houses
C. G. Drews
Orchard Books
Published April 4, 2019

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Goodreads

About The Boy Who Steals Houses

Can two broken boys find their perfect home? By turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a gorgeously told, powerful story.

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.

Heartfelt storytelling, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven.

The Boy Who Steals Houses on Goodreads

My Review

I’ve been in such a weird reading place lately (as so many of us have during the pandemic), so while I wanted to read this book at some point, it wasn’t in the short stack of books I felt like I needed to read this month.

And yet.

As soon as I started the first page, I had to know what came next. The chapters are pretty short (or at least, they seemed that way?) and I kept “one more chapter”-ing myself into reading long past a reasonable bed time and sneaking reading time into every spare minute during the day until I’d finished. So it’s super addicting and a really compelling story.

Sam is one of those boys you just want to shake (Gently… Come on. He’s been through a LOT.). He’s a mess, and he’s quickly becoming something he fears and hates, but he so desperately wants to be loved and to protect those he loves that I really couldn’t help loving him and wanting him to figure out a way through.

Though the whole story is in his point-of-view, a lot of it centers around a girl he’s quickly falling for. Moxie is amazing. I loved her from the very first moment she appeared on the page. She is fierce, creative, and vulnerable. She confronts Sam’s issues, but she sees beyond them, too.


Some of the abuse elements in THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES are pretty dark. I’m sensitive to that type of content, and it was very close to the line for me because it’s so cruel, and because more than one character behaves cruelly toward Sam and his brother. There are maybe four scenes that were really hard to read and then other quick mentions of or references to abuse that happened to the boys. I still loved the book, but it does live up to the promise of being heartbreaking in its descriptions of these things.

If you like tragic heroes and stories about found families, THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES must go on your To Be Read list! I think fans of MORE THAN WE CAN TELL by Brigid Kemmerer will really like this one.

The Boy Who Steals Houses on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Sam’s brother Avery has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Moxie’s brother is gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Graphic scenes show an adult physically abusing a child. Some scenes show cruel bullying and a teen beating up other teens.

Drug Content
References to teens drinking alcohol.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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