The Smell Of Other People's Houses By Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

Tittle: The smell of other people's houses

Author: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

240 pages

Published February 23rd 2016

by Wendy Lamb Books



By the book here.

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.

Beautiful, Inspiring and Life changing

“Sometimes you can be inserted into another person's life just by witnessing something you were never really supposed to be a part of.”

First Thought

Wow, this book cover is just breathtaking. They did a great job to capture a feeling of Alaska. A very interesting and yet intriguing title that makes you second-guess the book and wonder what exactly this story is about.

“Outside the bus windows, the sky is turning pink; the sun is already setting even though it’s only two in the afternoon. There is nothing but miles and miles of mountainous terrain reminding me that I am just a tiny speck in the universe”


Every character showcases so much emotion and characteristics it’s incredible (slowly raising my hat to Hitchcock). What I mostly like about each one of these characters, is that none are 100% perfect. This is a great book to showcase to young adults that family doesn’t always mean blood bound but that whoever loves you and is there for you can become your family. To intertwine every character’s life at the end was just fascinating and it makes you reflect on how much one little decision in life can impact you or someone else’s life.

“Did I stop believing in everything all at once, or was it so gradual I just didn't notice?”


Because of all the different plots and characters, it was hard to keep track of who’s who and understanding who the main character during that certain chapter was. Part of the story line made me question why exactly it was part of the novel it felt like it was irrelevant. The title all by itself was disappointing. Throughout the book, I was always waiting on more examples of different smells but I felt it lacked that very important key factor.

“I’ve realized over time that houses with moms in them do tend to smell better.”


I debated between a 5 or 4 star review for the past 3 weeks… This was such a good book but those little missing details were a win or lose for me, therefore, it will get a 4-star review. I still recommend this to readers who like historical YA as it showcases how different individuals can go through different situations. Also, it was very difficult to connect with so many characters and storyline.

By the book here.


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