No, this is not a do-it-yourself manual on how to actually build a house. In this novel, Dana Reinhardt tells the story of Harper, a teen girl who is escaping the drama of her family life for the summer. She’s going to Tennessee to help build a house for a family who lost nearly everything in a tornado.
How to Build a House alternates between Harper’s present building the house for this family and the past and the mess her home life became when her dad and stepmother divorced. Harper is dealing with her father’s faults, her relationship with her former stepsister and best friend Tess, and a new relationship with Teddy, the teen son of the family for whom this house is being built. Harper seems to find peace this summer, both because of helping out this family and the love she finds with Teddy.
How to Build a House was, at times, a very sweet book. At other times, being the responsible adult I am, I had issues with how casually rules and sex were treated by the book’s characters. I am not, however, naive enough to believe that the treatment of these issues in this book were unrealistic. I would recommend this book for those who want a light summer read. This book is not terribly deep or hard to read, but it does offer a good message about finding peace with oneself.