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How to Build a House
How to Build a House
Author: Dana Reinhardt
HARPER’S DAD IS getting a divorce from her beloved stepmother, Jane. Even worse, Harper has lost her stepsister, Tess; the divorce divides them. Harper decides to escape by joining a volunteer program to build a house for a family in Tennessee who lost their home in a tornado. Not that she knows a thing about construction. — Soon she’...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780375844539
ISBN-10: 0375844538
Publication Date: 5/27/2008
Pages: 240
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 10 ratings
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed How to Build a House on
A really quick read, but a really great book.
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Reviewed by Tasha for

Harper's life is falling apart. Her father and step-mother, whom she considers a mother, are getting a divorce, and her step-sister/best friend, Tess, won't talk to her. Then there's Gabriel. He's been Harper's best friend since they were twelve, but now he just uses her as his girl when he can't get anyone else.

Harper finally realizes that she needs to escape. When she finds out about Homes for the Heart Summer Program for Teens, she knows she's found her escape route. At the beginning of the summer she heads off to Bailey, Tennessee, where there was a major tornado that devastated almost the entire city. Here she will join a group of teens and help build a family a house.

Little does she know that she will not only rebuild one family's life, but may actually start rebuilding her own. She immediately starts making friends with the other volunteers and loves the aspect of helping other people. Then there's Teddy, the son of the family for whom the house is being built. Teddy chooses Harper. He shows her how to trust and love and turns her summer into an unforgettable moment.

First, I have to say this surpassed and exceeded every expectation I had of this book. Not only was it an amazing and heartfelt love story, but also an extremely real story of finding oneself. At the beginning of the story Harper is lost, struggling like many of today's teens with the divorce of her parents. She grows so much as a person that it inspires the reader to really look at their life and see if they can make themselves a better person, too. Harper's character is beautifully created and hard to forget. She is very honest and so real that she's hard not to love.

And then there is Teddy. Whew! He sounds like the ultimate boyfriend. There's everything to love about him and it drives me crazy that he's not real. I mean, who wouldn't want a guy who wants to make your life better and really wants to know everything about you?

Besides the characters, Dana Reinhardt's writing style was one-of-a-kind. I really enjoyed how the story kept flipping from Harper's current life in Tennessee and then back to what her home life was like. Overall, this was a stunning novel that I highly recommend. I completely loved it and will definitely read it over and over again!