Book Review: “Finding Home” by Garrett Leigh

“Finding Home”
Garrett Leigh

I received this book from “NetGalley” in exchange for an honest review. Anyone that knows me though knows that this won’t influence my discussion of the book, since I want everyone to know my honest opinions. This is the best way for someone to know if this could be a book for you.

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This story focuses on a family that takes in a young boy and girl (Leo and his sister, Lila) that has been through some horrific situations in their young lives. This has caused Lila not to speak and Leo to be horribly burned on one arm. The book also centers on Leo and a budding attraction to Charlie, a fellow member of the family.

Since I don’t rate books, I want to make books that I think that are very notable for some reason to stand out. As a result, I am creating “Cassie Favorite Read” to help distinguish truly unique books that I think my readers should definitely give a shot! If you see this graphic with the book you know that I truly loved this particular read! “Finding Home” is the first book to receive this honor.

Normally when I review a book I am level-headed and unemotional, able to write a review without placing any of those feelings on the table. This book, however, was gut-wrenching in parts. Truly horrific and at moments it had to be placed down to continue at a later time. The subject matter truly needs a trigger warning for anyone that has suffered from substantial abuse in their life, but the beauty of this tale is that it explores this abuse through a truthful lens for the characters of Lila and Leo. It never feels like these are fictional characters. It felt like every single moment was actually a child in social services trying to find themselves after parental units could not properly take care of them (I am saying it this way not to ruin things that you discover in the story pretty early about his parents). It felt specifically that Leo was a very damaged young man that could represent any number of children that have come from a home such as the one showcased early on in this book.

This story really revolves around this family that takes in Leo and Lila that try to show him what it means to be a member of such a unit, since he never has had that. Leigh does this in such a manner that you can understand at moments why Leo is reluctant to be drawn into it and then at other moments where you want to take Leo and slap him across his face one good time. There is a moment though when I thought I would want to slap Leo, but as the moment progressed out from it I started to cry uncontrollably because Leigh wrote it in a way that you understood Leo’s reasoning and it punches you hard. This is a fictional book for goodness sake and when I got to the last 1/4 of the book I literally was either holding back tears or crying because it is just that emotional. Leigh doesn’t hold back on the world of Leo. The beauty of seeing him go from this very unapproachable character to this one that loves others is a believable journey because Leigh doesn’t just jump to happiness, instead it is long journey. One filled with ups and downs. Happy moments, sad moments. It contains it all.

The element that was harder for me to swallow and it was weird to find myself feeling this way with the LGBT storyline. One of the children that lives in the family home is Charlie. Charlie and Leo start having a mutual attraction for each other, this is revealed fairly early on that they like each other on a surface level at least thus I don’t feel like I am making a huge spoiler moment here. I won’t say what ultimately happens between these two, but there are moments that it feels like this storyline was added to help the book sell better. Like it was added just to be like “look diversity” and “now it can be put on a more marketable shelf.” By the end though it feels like this has leveled out a bit. That Leigh did a better job of incorporating it into the overall story and making it by far more believable. The other aspect of the story that had me rolling my eyes was just how mean Charlie was to his older sister, Fliss, during the entire story. I understand sibling rivalry, but at moments I just wanted to be like, “Charlie hun, tone it down like five notches. You are acting like she kills puppies every day right in front of you while you are chained to some wall. Tone it down.” I was happy when finally a character pretty much tells him in a nicer way this.

My overall feelings of this book is that it is an enjoyable one that incorporates strong messages about social justice, foster care systems, family units, the social service system, LGBT relationships, and many other things. I usually try to find the positive in every single book that I read and I definitely do that here, but I have to say this is the book that I would say if you are wanting a diverse read you should go to. This is the book that showcases it in a believable way. This showcases it in a manner that feels organic to what real life homosexual relationships are like. Leigh’s work here is a thing of beauty and must be read! It published officially on October 9, 2017, so it should be out for purchase at the time of this writing.

I would tell individuals that have suffered horrific childhood abuse from a parental unit to give pause before reading this and make sure that you are in a good place mentally and emotionally. This will bring those things to the forefront and force you to perhaps deal with your own inner demons related to those experiences. More than once I had to stop to compose my own self because what this book contains. I would also not recommend this book to people not interested in what best would be described as contemporary young adult books. This fits within that category very well with a very social message about family units, social services, and that sort of thing.

I would recommend this to people that are perhaps within the social services field because it showcases beautifully why foster care systems and adoption programs are important. It also showcases a beautiful LGBT story, once Leigh settles down on wrongly incorporating it at certain moments. If you are a reader looking for strong contemporary stories, look no further. This is a story that you will enjoy and will cause a few tears.

Garret Leigh also has several other books that are for sell currently. To find more of her titles visit “Riptide Publishing” or do a simple google search for her!

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