Hardcover, 240 pages
Published by Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. 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.
When I saw this book on the shelves at my local bookstore, I was completely entranced by the cover. I pushed my friend into buying it on the cover alone, and told her to tell me how it was.
She finished it, and would not stop ranting on how how she loved this book! She wouldn’t tell me what it was about so when I borrowed the book from her, I went into it blindly. What was I supposed to expect from a book called The Smell of Other People’s Houses. All I knew was that it
- has a beautiful cover
- my friend loves it
- set in Alaska
I couldn’t put the book down once I passed the first few chapters. I was hooked! The story is told in multiple point of views from Ruth, Dora, Hank, and Alyce. The narrations were so likable and real. Ruth with the strict, religious grandmother and a secret, Alyce the dancer that just wants to make her dad happy, Dora who wants to feel like she belongs, and Hank who is just trying to keep his brothers safe.
A unique element of the book is it’s setting in the 1970s, after Alaska received statehood. The characters are Alaskan natives and they describe such a foreign lifestyle. It was captivating to learn more about their lifestyle.
Hitchcock connected the lives of the characters so well and her vivid writing brought so much insight to the book. It was moving, cleverly plotted, and so well written. I highly recommend this book to all readers. I enjoyed it so much.
Until next time,