Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

One of the first things I notice when I enter a house is the smell, and that smell gives me a feel for the people who live inside.

The teens in this story all want a safe and welcoming place to live.  They want people in that house to care for them, the make it a home.  They want it to smell like baking instead of disinfectant. (not that a clean house is a bad thing).

Teens also compare their parents to the parents of their friends. Some are better and some are worse, it`s all in the eye of the teens involved. A few even fantasize that life would be better if they had different parents.  A huge part of growing up is coming to terms with the family that you were born into.

Ruth, Dora, Alyce and Hank are all coming of age in the 1970`s in remote Alaska.  They live in a small community where most people know each other and their histories.  It`s a mixed culture community where many of the old practises have been maintained such as spending the summer at a hunting or fishing camp.

For a debut novel, author Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock did a great job of bringing these teens to life.  The relationships between the teens seemed so real with their rivalries and friendships.  I could clearily imagine the anguish that some of them were feeling and admit to shedding tears more than a few times.  This story has it`s sorrows, but they are well balanced with the joys and it left me with a feeling of hope for these and other teens facing the challenges of growing up.  I lreally enjoyed this book and look forward to future works by this author.

Thanks to Penguin Random House for my review ecopy.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada

1 comment:

Mystica said...

Thank you for this review.