THE BOY WHO LIVED IN THE CEILING by Cara Thurlbourn
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Freddie never intended to stay at the Johnson’s house. He snuck in while they were on vacation, just intending to shower and get warm for one night before going on his way. He even put his last two pound coin in their savings jar to pay for the water he used. But when the family comes home early, Freddie panics and hides in the attic. Days turn into months and as Freddie gets increasingly invested in the lives of the family below him–especially the teenage daughter, Violet–he begins to influence their lives in positive ways.
This story about friendship and belonging was a pleasant, light read. The suspense over whether (or rather when) Freddie would be discovered and questions about his past and the family’s secrets added enough intrigue to keep me turning pages. The book did fall short for me in voice and intensity. At the start, the voice felt young (I actually wondered for a few chapters if it was middle grade) and although Freddie experiences panic attacks, I didn’t believe them–didn’t feel them through the writing. For this reason, when the truth about his past was revealed, it came as a shock and didn’t seem grounded in the emotions of the first 80% of the novel. Despite these shortcomings, I’d recommend it to readers looking for a sweet friendship story.