This book surprised me and stole my heart.
A tour-de-force novel about love, the yearning for connection, and the ways in which childhood trauma plays out in adult life.
When introverted Ethan Fawcett marries Barb, he has every reason to believe he will be delivered from a lifetime of solitude. One day Barb brings home two young brothers, Tommy and Sam, for them to foster, and when the pandemic hits, Ethan becomes obsessed with providing a perfect life for the boys. Instead of bringing Barb and Ethan closer together, though, the boys become a wedge in their relationship, as Ethan is unable to share with Barb a secret that has been haunting him since childhood. Then Ethan takes Tommy and Sam on a biking trip in Italy, and it becomes clear just how unusual Ethan and his children are—and what it will take for Ethan to repair his marriage. This hauntingly beautiful debut novel—a bold and original high-wire feat—is filled with humor and surprise.
The Boys is one of those books that’s going to stick in my head for a long time. It’s also a book that I’m going to be recommending to my friends and family! In fact, my mother-in-law already read it, couldn’t put it down, and loved it.
First of all, I loved Ethan and Barb’s budding relationship in the beginning. The story of how they meet and date is so sweet, and I fell in love with them while they fell in love with each other.
The story moves on to a struggle with infertility, and eventually the introduction of “the boys” – the book’s namesake. Everything changes in the couple’s lives when the boys join the family, and it’s a bit heartbreaking to watch them fall apart. Barb drifts apart while Ethan gets a bit obsessive. And then, everything changes.
I can’t tell you anything about what changes, because that would spoil the story and you absolutely can’t know what that surprise is until you read it for yourself. That makes the rest of the book a little hard to review, but I’ll do my best 😊.
The overall themes in this book of mental health, responding in kindness, and caring for each other were so heartwarming and reminded me a little bit of the sentiment in The House on the Cerulean Sea and Anxious People. There was adventure, definitely some humor, and a lot of heartwarming moments in The Boys that I think you’ll love.
Overall I loved The Boys and definitely recommend picking it up. A big full 4.5 stars! Katie Hafner is an author I’ll definitely be watching.