Book Reviews

THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES BY C.G. DREWS // warning: this book wrecked me!!

Welcome to yet another extremely late review because I’m a terrible blogger.

I adored this book. But what did I not do? Flipping review it that’s what. I swear this is going to change. But I’m sitting in a pickle because I have a terrible memory and don’t remember enough about the book.

But I wanted to do this review so excuse this mess of a post.

This is my brand now. My legacy. And all entirely my own fault.

But without further rambling, let us just pop into this disaster of a review/discussion.

Still figuring out if I want to call these reviews because idk if they can be considered reviews. Anywayssss.

Title: The Boy Who Steals Houses
Author: C.G. Drews
Page count: 347
Date published: 4 April 2019
Genre: Young Adult contemporary


Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

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.

Content warnings: child abuse, physical violence, knife wound, ablest terms & anxiety attacks

STAR RATING (5 out of 5 stars):

Thank you to Pan MacMillan SA for gifting me an ARC copy and a physical copy! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I don’t know how Cait did it. How is one person this genius? Beats me.

I was absolutely speechless when I finished this book. I was also a sobbing mess but we’ll get into that later.

I’m like the 10000th person to say this but TRULY THIS BOOK STOLE MY ENTIRE HEART!

I finally read her first book at the beginning of the year (yes I am a terrible reader because I should’ve read it last year when it came out seeing as I was super excited to read). Anyways, off track, I read it and I really loved it. I was finished in two sittings, it was so great and heart-breaking. I even did a lil Q&A with Cait which was really fun. I just adore Cait, you guys. But I didn’t give that one a full 5 stars, I loved it but there was something missing. THIS book, on the other hand, HOLY MOLY. I was just… you know… minding my own business whilst reading (near to release date… on time actually HA!! A MIRACLE!!) this book and all of a sudden it was a favourite of the year?!?!? And I was an entire mess of emotions.

Somewhat like this post will be a mess of emotions. I mean you’re getting what you signed up for folks.


The writing style is just so brilliant?? Like it’s lyrical, yet also witty and marvellous. You can TELL that it’s Cait who wrote this book. She has this way with words that make you FEEL for the characters. They’re flawed, occasionally making you want to pull your hair out and shake them, but also so loveable, making you want to hug them tight and protect with your life. Basically me throughout the entire book tbh.

There are so many layers to the story. So many topics being discussed, making the book really well-rounded. We have family issues, having an autistic sibling, the feeling of belonging and finding a place where you belong, young romance and familial responsibilities.

My emotions went on a rollercoaster. This book just evokes so many feelings. I was all over the place.

from my Instagram


I was cackling, crying (obviously), smiling, screaming and did I mention crying?

  • Vin: is the actual worst and there’s nothing more to say on that.
  • Grady De Lainey: we call it goals, when all a character wants to do, is read his book all day. Wish I had such control over my books HA.
  • Jack De Lainey: he’s the comedic relief of the whole family, always causing trouble and has way too much energy. Very relatable, as I have such siblings.
  • Mr De Lainey: and dad of the year goes too… this man right here!! He was the best omg. SO many funny moments and he’s also just trying his best to provide for his kids. I love how he just goes along with the like million kids his children bring into the house.
  • Jeremy De Lainey: The most underrated character in this book, and also lowkey one of my favourites. I loved that he was gay and just how awesome and friendly he was. But he was also SO FUNNY and was always teasing Moxie & Sam. SO GREAT!!
  • Avery Lou: I love that this book is #ownvoices for the autism rep because Avery was such a well-written character. Because of his autism, outsiders obviously find him very frustrating and just write him off as being childish and throwing tantrums. And because the book is from Sam’s perspective, you as a reader can find him frustrating, but we also all know it’s not his fault and just AHHH. It’s really hard to describe.
  • Moxie De Lainey: this ball of feistiness and wit is just an actual icon™. She’s such a great character and I LOVED her so so so much. I loved her relationship with her brothers and with Sam, you really feel for her. She’s such a great sister and had me cackling multiple times. She was also the definition #feminism (in a good way)
  • Sam Lou: how do I even talk about this boy? You don’t even know how much I love I have for him. He tore at my heart-strings on literally every page and I just,,, I loved the anxiety rep, I deeply related. I love how much he cared and wouldn’t stop caring about his brother, even though he felt useless. I hate how he felt useless and that he thought he didn’t have any right to be loved BECAUSE NO. I literally want to cry as I type this. I can’t even with this bean. Can I please give him a hug?
me @ sam on every page

Can we again just talk about the humour?!?! I’m the biggest sucker for large groups of people with A+ quality banter. And this book delivered that on every front. I love all the sarcastic remarks Moxie and Jack were throwing around. Even Sam, Jeremy and Mr DeLainey. THE ACTUAL BEST!!

The flashbacks!! Wow!! Way to make me cry cAiT!!! But anyway, they brought so much more to the story. They were so vivid and made me want to pull my hair out because SO SAD!! Why do horrible people have to exist??

And the romance OH MY!! OH MY!! It did something to me man. I was screaming at the smallest of interactions and just really appreciated the two of them. Moxie and Sam just really work together and are just EVERYTHING.

We don’t start off at the De Lainey house but a bit before then and it takes you like 50 pages to understand what’s going on. Which is usually how long it takes to get into a book so idek why I’m mentioning this welp. Maybe just to reassure you that you just need to hang on a bit if you’re not loving it at first.

BUT that being said, the beginning of this book. It HURTS man. We’re introduced to Sam and Avery and their tragic backstory. Avery has terrible friends and also hates that Sam hurts people. He doesn’t like going from house to house because it messes up his routine, therefore he stays at his terrible friends. And it’s just so heart-wrenching. There’s no other way to describe it. SO MANY EMOTIONS!

me by the end of this book

Also every time Sam had to go check up on Avery. And any time when he broke down. That BROKE me. It’s just,,, ahhh I DON’T HAVE WORDS. CAIT HOW DO YOU  DO IT?!?! Also any time Sam broke down because he thought nobody loved him KILLED ME. Or any time Avery said something to him. We know he doesn’t mean it but STILL, IT HURTS.

Have I mentioned how much I love love love Sam and Moxie’s relationship development? Well, I’m saying it again:  I LOVE LOVE LOVE THEIR RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT!

I don’t think I’ll be mentioning much here because but there are a few scenes that I REALLY wanted to talk about.

I absolutely adore how Sam just like falls in with the literal herd of people at the DeLainey house. I love their beach scene where just jumps in with everyone. Also doesn’t he give himself like a fake name and then when Moxie eventually befriends him, they have to like cover up and change it. I’m a terrible person because I don’t think I’m making this up.


And also the whole scene where they cute Sam’s hair. It’s so funny and also adorable. I love when Jeremy comes in. JUST EVERYTHING.

The part where Sam has to break into that building though, I WAS SCARED OUT OF MY MIND. Ahh it really did something to me.

But I also loved the whole dress-making plotline. I LOVED that Sam offered himself up to be poked and prodded just to please Moxie. These two are the actual cutest.

Also, we just need to talk about how ICONIC it is how many times Mr De Lainey shouts “LANGUAGE!” I BURST INTO LAUGHTER EVERY TIME. It’s so funny I can’t get over it.

We also need to discuss how that money Sam stole literally made me fear for my life that he’d be caught and that everything would spiral into even more chaos welp. Send an ambulance.

The shopping expedition = best day ever!!

That ending… was a lot ohmygosh.

I am a puddle on the floor.

Re: send help!!


Jeremy sounds reflective. “Ah, How could I forget? All our friends thought we’d died.”
Jack looks like murder. “I hate you Moxie.”
She batters her eyelashes. “Love you too, sweetcakes.”

“We’re stealing a house, because you know what we need?”
Avery shakes his head.
“We are the kings of nowhere,” Sammy says. “We only need us.”
He’s a very good liar.”

“A family. A home. I really want a… h-home.”
“But you can’t steal it.”
“I know,” Sam whispers. I know I know I know.
“You have to build it.”

“Moxie’s body relaxes and her shoulder leans against his. The pressure is warm and soft and everything. And he falls into it. Just a little. He won’t let himself get too comfortable – he’s not that stupid. But for the barest moment between patchwork frowns, he’s wanted.”

“Sam looks down at his fingers wrapped around Avery’s phone. “I’ll catch him if he falls.”
“Who catches you?” Moxie says.
Sam stitches on a pretend smile. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Everybody leaves.”
“I’m not leaving.”

“If something even remotely sexist comes out of your mouth again,’ Moxie says, her eyes glinting, ‘I will take a pound of flesh per word.”

“She is the sun and her eyes burn stars.”

I hope you enjoyed this review! I’m trying to find my footing with reviews again. I think I’m going to be something different with them but stay tuned for that.

You were warned that this post might be a mess but I tried my best.

I just loved this book so much and needed to have a post up to dedicate to this masterpiece!!




  • Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

    Ruby, this review was FAR from a mess–what are you talking about?? I’m currently behind on reviews as well, and I’m gonna have to write some even though I recall nothing about the book, so I already know that my reviews are gonna turn out to be trash, unlike this one. Also, your love for this book is so palpable??? I can’t wait to read this book :((( I just know that I’m gonna love the characters!! Plus, I really need to read more books with autism rep!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Oh my THANK YOU CAITLIN!! I’ve been feeling so weird about reviews lately, that I’ve been doing them wrong the entire time so I was a bit nervous to see how this turned out. I’m trying to add way more to the spoiler-free section. Also NO your reviews are GREAT, really admire them, was low-key stalking you a bit for inspiration hehe, hope you don’t mind.

      And YES you will love this book, the characters are all just lovable messes. I also really want to read more books with autism rep. I read Red, White and Royal Blue which had ADHD rep I think and I’ve been on the lookout for more books with characters on that spectrum : )


      • Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

        No, you’re not doing it wrong!! There’s honestly no wrong way to do a review, and you shouldn’t worry at all bc this review was amazing 💗💗 Omg I’m kinda honored that my review inspired you? 😭 I hope you didn’t unearth the old ones though bc *cringe*

        Yeah, I think I’ve only read one book in my entire life with autism rep :(( RWRB is the only book I’ve read w ADHD rep too, & I hope to find more as well!!

        • Ruby Rae Reads

          Thank you Caitlin, you’re the best!! And the sweetest 💞 hahah OMG I AM SO AFRAID somebody looks up my old reviews. I was curious and looked at one from like the beginning of the year: and like WHAT WAS I THINKING 😆

          WE MUST FIND MORE BOOKS WITH REP!! Especially own voices ones. I’m sure they’re out there

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