Author: Garrett Leigh
Publication Date: October 9, 2017
Page Length: 178 pages
My Rating: 5 / 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.
I’ve read a few Garrett Leigh books, and I have absolutely loved all the ones I have read (as in, they have all made me cry) and I was super excited to find out that Finding Home is a YA book. What makes this book stand out is that both characters are 15-years-old, which we really don’t see as much of in YA anymore. A plus is that this book is also set in the UK, rather than the US. As per Garrett Leigh books, this isn’t what I would call a light read. It’s still very angsty and the prologue itself is violent. Trigger warnings include drug use, domestic abuse, and homophobia.
The story is told from two third-person POVs – Leo Hendry and Charlie de Sousa. Charlie lives with his older sister and his mother and father, with his older brother already out living on his own. His mother and father, Kate and Reg, haven’t taken in any foster children in a while, but want to do so again for Leo and his sister, Lila. Leo and Lila are a special case that would make them the best choices to stay with Charlie’s family. Kate is hard of hearing and can read lips and speak, but does use sign language. This would be a good thing for Lila, who is deaf.
Leo has been through a lot. Him and his sister have already been through a number of foster homes and he’s been known to get violent in school. Charlie’s family thinks that they can help Leo and his sister out, so they decide to welcome the two siblings into their home.
Leo could handle a row, or a punch up, but the guilt in his gut at hurting Charlie’s feelings bothered him more than he cared to admit.
Charlie is a sweet kid, kind and loving. And Leo needs that. He needs a loving family and people who will love him and his sister. The journey Leo has in this book as we see him slowly develop love and trust, is one that is tentative, but full of feels. Leo’s past is haunting. This book absolutely put my heart through the wringer. This book highlights foster care and adoption and I love that we see a loving relationship between Leo and Lila, as well as how darling Charle’s family is.
The bond that forms between Leo and Charlie is slow and full of tenderness. The characters are both fifteen, so this story ends with a HFN as they find their way forward together. Leo and Charlie are precious. And the secondary characters, the family and even Leo’s friend Wayne, are the most wonderful people. There’s no big shocking plot point, I think, but this is one that’s instead full of character growth.
This is a heart-wrenching story that manages to still be full of tenderness and so much love. This is a wonderful YA book that’s good for teens and adults. I can only hope that we see more YA books by Garrett Leigh in the future!!