Title: Finding Home
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult
Page Count: 178
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?
With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.
Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.
Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.
Fifteen-year-old Charlie de Sousa really lucked out with his adoptive parents Kate and Reg Poulton. Charlie has been with them since he was two, and his adopted sister Fliss along with Kate’s biological son Andy (living in his own apartment) make for a happy family that hashes through all major decisions together. Leo and Lila have survived an unimaginable family tragedy and are in the foster care system when Kate and Reg and their family agree to give them a safe place to heal.
This YA story is beautifully and poignantly written and although there is a lot of angst along the way, it is so tender and so hopeful. Charlie is instantly captivated by this beautiful boy with “the emptiest eyes Charlie had ever seen” while Leo’s initial hostility is gradually tempered by Charlie’s kindness and warmth. Both Charlie and Leo are gay (“I liked you kissing me, because I like what you like . . . I like you, and I like boys”), and Garrett Leigh gives us a love story that is PG rated yet so satisfying, along with an ending that is perfect without being sugar-coated:
“I wouldn’t be here without you. You know that, don’t you?”
“What did I do?”
“You reminded me to be happy.”
“Are you happy, Leo?”