The Smell of Other People's Houses
Set in Alaska in the 1970s, The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a excellent debut YA novelabout growing up in small towns, about looking out at the world and comparing your own life with the lives of others, about seeking answers where often there are only questions. The premise that other people’s homes smell certain ways, and what this indicates in terms of lifestyle, social structure and family histories, is a wonderful premise and a successful way in which to hang together the lives of this community. Following the lives of four young people - Ruth, who wants to be remembered; Dora, who doesn’t want to be noticed; Alyce, who wants to please everyone; and Hank, who needs to run away - each story is touching and real. You’ll find yourself rooting for them all, that their lives will be what they wish. This isn’t a sentimental novel though, there are tough issues and hard decisions for all the teens to make. Their lives are often difficult as they deal with absent parents, family secrets, tragedy, teen pregnancy, abuse, first love, and the twists and turns of friendship and family. All the characters have decisions to make as they move from being children to adults, as they realise that life isn’t black and white. But this isn’t melodramatic writing. Hitchcock embraces her characters and tells their honest and sometimes gritty stories with lightness, humour and integrity. Cleverly plotted, the lives of the community intersect as the four main characters become entangled, as secrets are revealed. Ultimately this is a novel about what you leave behind, what holds you together and how lives can be redeemed.
"Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock's Alaska is beautiful and wholly unfamiliar.... A thrilling, arresting debut." --Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Was Here
" A] singular debut. . . . Hitchcock] weav es] the alternating voices of four young people into a seamless and continually surprising story of risk, love, redemption, catastrophe, and sacrifice." --The Wall Street Journal
This deeply moving and authentic debut set in 1970s Alaska is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America's Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.
Ruth has a secret that she can't hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she's always known on her family's fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it's safer to run away than to stay home--until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable William C. Morris Award finalist is about people who try to save each other--and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed.
William C. Morris Finalist
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal
Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
Tayshas Reading List--Top 10 List
New York Public Library's Best 50 Books for Teens
Chicago Public Library, Best of the Best List
Shelf Awareness, Best Children's & Teen Books of the Year
Nominated to the Oklahoma Sequoya Book Award Master List
Nominated to the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
"Hitchcock's debut resonates with the timeless quality of a classic. This is a fascinating character study--a poetic interweaving of rural isolation and coming-of-age." --John Corey Whaley, award-winning author of Where Things Come Back and Highly Illogical Behavior
"As an Alaskan herself, Bonnie Sue Hitchcock is able to bring alive this town, and this group of poor teens and their families that live there." --Bustle.com
Love, tragedy, luck and salvation in the interweaving stories of four teenagers in this extraordinary 1970s Alaskan set debut novel.
Born and raised in Alaska and a longtime journalist for Alaska Public Radio, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock spent ten years fishing commercially and raised her children on a boat in Southeast Alaska - bringing a rare authenticity to her writing about America's last frontier. She now lives in Lyons, Colorado, where she's slowly rebuilding her house after the catastrophic floods of September 2013. THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES is her first novel.