Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Boy Who Lived in the Ceiling: An Arnhurst Novel by Cara Thurlbourn

 Release Date - July 8, 2021

Freddie never dreamed his mother would die when he was only a young boy or that his father and step-mother turn their backs on him and leave him in the street to fend for himself. Now homeless, Freddie does what he can to keep himself fed, sheltered, and clothed. 

While walking down the street, he spies on a family leaving on a trip. The teen daughter catches his attention, and in the rush to get to the car, she leaves her journal stuck in the door. Freddie retrieves it and realizes the door is unlocked. He knows he shouldn't, but he uses their home for the three weeks that's marked on their calendar. 

Violet is having troubles of her own. A three-week ski vacation isn't her dream trip. She'd rather have spent her school break with her friends. Her parents fight all of the time. Her brother stopped speaking, and no one is able to get him to speak again. Plus, she's being forced to move to a public school, which has her friends leaving her behind.

When Violet's family returns home unexpectedly, Freddie is trapped. He hides in their attic hoping no one will hear him, yet something else happens that brings him into Violet's radar. The impact of this has a profound change on both of them.

From the start, you know that what Freddie did is wrong, yet it's impossible to blame his impromptu decision to temporarily move in. He's harboring a secret that led to his being kicked out of his dad's home. That broke my heart. I get his dad's heartbreak, but at no point does that mean you turn your back on your child. The stepmother, well, she's just the stereotypical "you're not my child so I don't care" classic stepmother.

My heart broke for Freddie, and often for Violet, too, who is dealing with many of the things that make your teen years hard to navigate. Bullying, handsy teen boys, vicious teen girls, and parents who don't seem to get what you're going through. I loved when these two found each other and started to see life from another point of view.

This is the first of two books coming out in 2021 from Cara Thurlbourn. The other, The Girl Who Wasn't, is due out in September.

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