Today I’m excited to kick off the blog tour for The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. This debut novel, set in 1970s Alaska, is one of the most unique and memorable books I’ve read this year.
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.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses features a very unique style. Our main characters are teenagers growing up in a small town in Alaska: Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank (and his brothers). The narrative swaps between different viewpoints throughout the novel. Each character has very different backgrounds and lifestyles but despite their differences, they end up having stories that weave together in incredible ways.
The reality of what it’s like to grow up in Alaska as a teenager plays a large role in the story. For most readers, the customs in 1970s Alaska are very different from what most people are used to today. Hitchcock is exposing readers to new experiences, ranging from hunting to living on fishing boats. One piece of the story that I found really interesting was the discussion surrounding Alaska’s introduction as a state. It’s easy to forget that the United States haven’t always been made up of all 50 states and the dialogue surrounding why some Alaskans didn’t want statehood was eye-opening for me.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses doesn’t shy away from diversity or teenage problems that are sometimes overlooked in literature. Hitchcock’s characters are dealing with a lot: death & loss of a parent, teenage pregnancy, poverty, drunk and abusive parents, just to name a few. These aren’t teenagers who have everything they’ve ever needed; instead, they’re fighting against all of the odds stacked against them. Your heart will be both broken and put back together again while reading.
Hitchcock’s debut novel is one to remember. It’s a quick read that will leave you thinking about it for days after you finish. The Smell of Other People’s Houses is touching, eye-opening, and definitely worth the time.
About the Author
Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour for The Smell of Other People’s Houses:
· 2/16 The Young Folks
· 2/17 Reading with Cupcakes
· 2/18 Jessabella Reads
· 2/19 Across the Words
· 2/20 The Hiding Spot
· 2/21 Pretty Good Gatsby
· 2/22 Once Upon a Twilight
· 2/23 The Reading Nook Reviews
· 2/24 The Social Potato
· 2/25 The Cover Contessa
· 2/26 Irish Banana
· 2/27 Waste Paper Prose
· 2/28 Page Turners Blog
· 2/29 Collected Works
· 3/1 Live to Read
· 3/2 Supernatural Snark