Summary (from Goodreads):
Jay Farrell, a crippled priest, has begun housing homeless boys in his rectory. Once a street kid himself, he was riding the rocket-train to a lifetime in prison until the day he drove over a land mine in Iraq. Today he works at an inner-city parish, running a soup kitchen and strougling to manage an impoverished church.
With temperatures below zero and falling a few nights before Christmas, Jay’s estranged brother Kevin dumps three more children on his front porch. Kevin, a cop who can’t believe in God after all the evil he’s seen, hasn’t spoken to Jay in years, but he knows Jay will at least give the kids a place to stay. It isn’t over yet, though. As they work together to meet the children’s needs, they must confront the long-buried emotions that have divided them so long.
This book is short and sweet. I was able to read it in one sitting because the book just filled me with joy.
Jay and Kevin are brothers who haven’t spoken to each other in a long time. Jay, a priest, found God in his time of need. Kevin, a cop, turned God away after all the terrible things he’s seen.
The brothers find each other again as Kevin brings a few homeless children to Jay’s church. Together, they help the various children get jobs, find homes, and overall just stay out of trouble.
The characters in the story are easy to follow and relatable. I love the relationship Jay and Kevin have at the beginning of the story and the end and how they develop throughout. Even the orphans had great backgrounds. The author didn’t go too in depth about the boys’ backgrounds, but she didn’t need to. Just one or two sentences were enough to feel for the boys and understand they were going through a tough time.
The overall writing style flows nicely and really just allows you to continuously read the book until the story is over. You forget you’re reading a book, that’s how much I was into the story.
Overall, it was a pleasant story to read and it made me feel good, especially with all the bad things happening in the world today. The story touches upon Christianity, second chances, giving to others, forgiveness, and so many other important themes.
I think everyone should read it whether they’re religious or not. If you want the full effect, read this around Christmas time.
The Boys Upstairs by Jane Lebak gets 5 out of 5 stars.
“If nobody will give these boys a job because they’re not good in the eyes of the world, how can they become good in the eyes of the world?” –Jane Lebak, The Boys Upstairs