a thousand perfect notes & the boy who steals houses – c.g. drews | review

Absolutely adore C.G. Drews’s standalone novels: A Thousand Perfect Notes and The Boy Who Steals Houses. I can’t recommend them enough. I haven’t changed my mind about any of these books. Today’s post has a two-in-one combo of reviews, so enjoy!

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

Published June 7th 2018 by Orchard Books
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary


Rating: 5 out of 5.


An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?


I received the review copy from Pansing. This book is available at all good bookstores. Kinokuniya | Popular

trigger and content warnings:

Simply fell in love with A Thousand Perfect Notes. It was heart-wrenching but C.G. Drews managed to slip in some hilarious and extremely touching moments.

Beck has been playing the piano since he was young because of the witch Maestro, his mother. Forced to practice the same piece again and again, relentlessly perfecting the music, Beck came to dislike playing the piano. He wasn’t creating his own music. Throughout the whole book, I was afraid for his well-being. Whenever he made a mistake or crossed that invisible line that sets off his mother’s temper, his safety was all I could think of.

Please don’t stop.
Please don’t let go.
Please hold onto me.

I wasn’t that concerned about the blooming relationship between August and Beck, to be frank. Despite that, August was a breath of fresh air in Beck’s mundane life. With her presence, August changed Beck’s life drastically and I loved her eccentric self for that.

A Thousand Perfect Notes has abuse, and reading the hardships and turmoils Beck was put through tore me apart. However, Beck’s will to continue living and care for his sister was beautiful. Highly recommend this to anyone who needs a quick yet emotional read!


The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews

Published April 4th 2019 by Orchard Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Representation: autism


Rating: 5 out of 5.


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.


trigger and content warnings:

I don’t handle sad stories well so I often avoid them. However, since I had a wonderful experience reading A Thousand Perfect Notes, I knew I’m a fan of C.G. Drews. Whatever she will be publishing, I’d be reading which meant that my expectation of The Boy Who Steals Houses was incredibly high, and the author didn’t disappoint.

Brothers Avery and Sammy were scarred since young with their mother’s abandonment and by their father’s violence. Sammy grew up protecting Avery who is autistic. He often breaks into homes, desperate for a semblance of a proper family but it’s out of reach. He’s stuck in this perpetual loop of homelessness, stealing, and not belonging. Until one day, his house-breaking landed him in a sticky situation.

The De Lainey family is a chaotic but happy one. I’ve always loved books that have a huge focus on family, and this one was brilliant. Maxie’s amazing. She’s sarcastic and witty. The whole family dynamic was fun to read. Each of them has a unique personality so even though there are so many of them, the De Lainey members are pretty distinctive.

The Boy Who Steals Houses made me emotional. My heart tore for these two brothers and the amount of shit they were going through because of their parents. The both of them were just trying to survive the cruel world in their own ways, the best possible way they can think of.

Since the book was written from Sammy’s point of view, I couldn’t empathize with Avery’s situation at first. In addition to his autism and the unhealthy childhood he grew up in, Avery is very susceptible to bad influences and was teased all the time. When Avery rebelled against Sammy, it felt frustrating since Sammy would do anything to keep his brother safe.

But as I read on, I started to understand that Avery’s actions. He’s trying to be his own person. He couldn’t control his ticks and couldn’t help that he was easily overwhelmed. It wasn’t his fault that the world doesn’t empathize with his condition and is ignorant about it. Nobody showed him empathy and kindness throughout his life except the nice cop and his own brother. All he knew was to hide, hide, and hide. Hide from others, hide his condition, hide from himself.

Sammy has anger management issues. It’s his instinctive reflex when it came to any dangerous circumstances. When someone hurts Avery, Sammy punches. Avery hates it because it’s a too familiar sight.

All I want was for Sammy to be safe and happy. He’s a young boy taking care of a younger boy. He has no one to turn to for all the problems in his life with no stability or roof over his head. Sammy’s the kind of character you want to protect forever because he’s just so precious. When he finally had someone to talk to and share his troubles with, I can’t help but be relieved.

I gasped at how the book ended!! Oh my… I wanted more, I needed more. Why did you do this, C.G. Drews? What a beautiful, heartbreaking story. I already need her next book in my hands.

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4 thoughts on “a thousand perfect notes & the boy who steals houses – c.g. drews | review”

  1. i haven’t heard of these books before but wow they sound incredible! i’m normally not picking out sad books either, but now im wanting to read both of these so badly! plus, the aesthetics you made for them really sealed the deal hahaha. great reviews! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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