The Smell of Other People’s Houses

The Smell of Other People’s HousesThe Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Published by Wendy Lamb Books on February 23rd 2016
Pages: 240
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Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Set in Alaska in 1970, this book tells the interwoven story of four teenagers dealing with their own individual issues. This book is told through their individual points of view and yet the characters come together at various points – but mainly at the end of the book. The book shows how uniquely different it is to grow up in Alaska. One part that stood out for me was how a character did not know how banking worked; specifically, how to manage ones’s own bank account.

Ruth lives with Gran. She has done so since a young age after a family tragedy. She has a secret that the whole town will know about soon enough.

Dora wants to escape her life but mainly her father. When good luck strikes, it appears she doesn’t quite know what to do about it.

Alyce is torn between her divorced parents. She fishes with her father on his boat while studying dancing while with her Mother. She has her own dreams and hopes for her future. Will she be able to express herself?

Hank and his brother decide to leave town. Their life is miserable after the death of their father and they stow away in hope of finding a better life.

Hope for a better life seems to be the theme of this novel. All of the teens hope for better. They have dreams and wishes. They hope to escape their lives in hopes of finding a better life for themselves.

I liked the book. I didn’t love it. I think I would have liked the book better if it had been focused on just one or two main characters. With four story lines going on, I did not find myself feeling connected or strongly about any of the characters.


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