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The Smell of Other People's Houses

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  6,737 Ratings  ·  1,596 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Jessica Peterson I would let my 11 year old read this. It does cover some hard truths but I felt it was done in a classy way.

Community Reviews

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
4.5 stars
When I went back to my own house, which held nothing but the faint scent of mold in secondhand furniture-also known as guilt and sin.

I totally requested and pushed this book on my friends because of that title alone.
Palm Springs commercial photography

How can you resist it? Then just look at that cover. It makes my inner cover whore just get all warm and fuzzy.

Then I read the blurb. Yes, I don't really read them all the time. I just pick the pretties.
This book is set in Alaska! I have this fascination with Alaska and if
...more
C.G. Drews
Ahhh I loved this! I truly utterly adored it!! I think it was the sniffing...I mean, LOOK AT THAT TITLE. LOOK AT THAT COVER. I was pretty much doomed to love these sniffy characters. My only sadness is that it's so short because I want mooooooore. Eternally more. (And this is the author's debut?! Consider me sold FOREVER.)

ALL THE REASONS THIS BOOK IS ETERNALLY WONDERFUL:

The writing is just AMAZING. It's super visual and...sniffy. I could honestly taste and smell and see everything. And do you
...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of aestheticy settings and character development
What do I even begin to say about this impactful, gorgeous book? My faith in humanity and my love for found family has been absolutely restored.

There's so much I loved about this book, I really don't know where to start.


# SO CLOSE YOU CAN TASTE IT: SETTING AND WRITING

The setting developed here is just as awesome. Yes, I'm a little biased, because I've been in love with the idea of Alaska since I was really little. But this book made me feel like I was there. I felt as if I were in that snowy, i
...more
jessica
not going to lie, the only reason i picked this up was because the title randomly caught my eye. which is very unlike me (i usually prefer to look at other reviews and ratings before buying a book), but i decided to go on an impulsive whim. and after finishing this, i still think the title (and its significance) is the best part of the book.

this was a cute story and well written, but it felt like it was spread a little too thin. the main concept of the book is how lives can impact and intertwin
...more
Larry H
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars for this one.

First of all, how freaking cool is this title?

Dora dreams of the stability of a family, of being able to sleep at night without fear, of belonging and feeling wanted. She has never had those things with her own parents, but she gets them living with her best friend Dumpling and her family.

No matter how secure Dora feels, she knows it's just a matter of time before she has to return to her real life, to embarrassment and poverty and danger, because you can't outrun your fam
...more
Cait • A Page with a View
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, that was absolutely beautifully done.
Lola
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

I can’t believe I just read three historical fiction books in a row. Three very different YA historical fiction books, but three historical books still.

I’m surprised because I usually read one every two months. It’s the season of historical novels!

So this book. What a catchy cover. What a catchy title. A title that gives absolutely nothing away about this book. Don’t ask me to analyze it for you, fellow humans, because it’ll take me some time to get back to you. Plus I already have fiv
...more
F
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, usa
It was a cute read.
Something light.
Love books set in the 70s.
Kai
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, owned, underrated
"Even after your heart breaks into a million pieces, I am here to tell you - all around you the world will still go on spinning. People might even say kind words to you and think you are listening, but mostly you won't hear anything because you're too busy collecting each of those tiny pieces of your heart - wrapping them up into a safe corner of yourself, so you can find them again later."

This book caught my eye right away. First of all because of the intriguing title, second of all because of
...more
Snotchocheez
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
2 stars

Hate to be the Grinch for an author's debut, but once I got past that gorgeous snow globe-ish cover and title to die for, there just wasn't much here to sustain my interest. It's almost like Ms. Hitchcock (an Alaskan native) picked up a copy of John Green's Looking For Alaska, got mad because the book was set in Alabama, and thought "If they're looking for Alaska, by God I'm gonna show them the way!" It seems like she's got the early 1970s-era Alaska down pat (it's endorsed by fellow Ala
...more
Eilonwy

4-1/2 stars, rounded up.
"Did you save him?"
"I tried. Maybe he saved me?"
"Yeah, that's what we do, isn't it? We save each other."
This exchange sums up this short but beautifully moving book, which tells the intertwining stories of four teens in Alaska in 1970, all of whom have reasons to fantasize about other people's homes. Ruth and her sister live with their chilly, upright, very Catholic grandmother; Dora's mother is an alcoholic and her father sexually abuses her; Alyce feels obligated to
...more
jayne
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We don't have to be blood to be family.

Bonnie Sue-Hitchcock is literally the next John Green of YA literature. And, when I mean the next John Green of YA literature, I mean that she has the potential to blow up... which is a little sad, because I wish I could just keep this book all to myself, and treasure it in my heart... but then again, this author deserves recognition. Her debut novel is just fantastic and eloquently displays her talent, as a writer.

(I'm actually not the biggest fan of John
...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
WOW. I do not know what I was expecting going into this, but I definitely did not expect this to become one of my favorite books of the year. Maybe even of all time?! This was so simple and sweet and beautifully crafted and I ended up SOBBING at the ending because it was just so damn lovely. I will definitely re-read this over and over again for the rest of my life. WOW.
Zoeytron
'. . . houses with moms in them do tend to smell better.'

I am totally taken with the title of this book. It reminds me of the redolence of potpourri and furniture polish that lingered in the air at my in-law's house back when they were still living. More recently, it calls to mind how the house of my parents has taken on the smell of old people during the past several years. I wonder what my house smells like to other people.

This is story of teenagers trying to find their way in life, learning h
...more
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life

I really enjoyed reading this short little book. This book first grabbed my attention with its title. I loved the title and the purple cover is just beautiful. The story inside the cover was equally wonderful. I haven't read a lot of books set in Alaska so the setting was a big draw for me. This was one of those books that I didn't want to put down and I read most of it within a day.

This book is told from multiple points of view. I really enj
...more
Neil (or bleed)
"We don't have to be blood to be family."


What an interesting, quite funny and weird title we've got here, right? I mean, that title alone made me read this heartfelt, coming-of-age novel which is set in Alaska during its early statehood. And add that breath-taking cover. I, absolutely, can't say no.

description

Frankly speaking, I almost gave up reading this novel and save it for another day but I'm happy I didn't. The Smell of Other People's Houses might not work its magic immediately upon reading it but
...more
Ylenia
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads, kindle
*ARC / review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thanks again*

*3.5 stars*

When it comes to books, and especially ARCs from NetGalley, I like to know pretty much nothing about them before reading.
Maybe it's because lately many publishers think is a good thing to spoil half of the book in the synopsis on the back... maybe I just like a little bit of mystery and to be surprised.

What I knew about this before I started reading it: amazing cover, horrible title, very cold, Al
...more
Suzanne
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
What an intriguing book with interesting characters and backstories. I actually found this little book to be an entertaining short read. I find books that take place in Alaska interesting because of the building of the surroundings and lifestyle of that location. This was a really entertaining few hours.

My quick and simple overall: interesting but the characters and their backstories make it more incredible.
Rashika (is tired)
Reasons why I read the book: Title + cover + setting + time period.

Reasons why I loved the book: Feels + characters + great relationships + diversity

The Smell of Other People’s Houses is actually not about some weird person that goes around sniffing other people's houses. It is a profound book about families, relationships and the interconnectedness of a community.

I don’t usually like multiple point of views and while I think some of the transitions between them could have been neater, I actuall
...more
Cesar
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stars.

My expectations for this book was high but it didn't deliver on any of what I was expecting. Which is really disappointing because I liked the premise of it and the title. I mean, The Smell of Other People's Houses, that's an interesting title.

Unfortunately, a pretty cover and interesting title didn't help in regards to the plot and characters.

The book takes place in America's last frontier, Alaska, in 1970. We follow four teenagers as they try to navigate through life. Ruth is trying
...more
Irena
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What you need to know about this book:

- The Smell of Other People's Houses is a novel that came into existence from four different short stories.
- It follows four different perspectives, all written in first person, all points of view are teenager's.
- This book takes place in Alaska in 1970.
- Four characters of this book are telling us different stories, but they are all intertwined at some point.
- Even thugh this is a novel, you can read this book in two different ways:
1. From first page to la
...more
Veiledhorizon
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a beautiful tale of friendship and family and, what it is like to live in Alaska. This is one of those magical short stories that leave you wanting for more. It made me feel really emotional and the story felt really real too. I almost forgot that it is a work of fiction!
Inge
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, I certainly feel like the odd one out in the midst of all these high ratings and glowing reviews. Technically, there was nothing wrong with this story. The characters are interesting and the writing is easy to read. I just didn't connect to the story whatsoever, nor did I really care about it. The only reason I finished it was because it was short.

I did love the Alaskan setting, which was really unique and provided me with loads of food descriptions. I also liked how there were four differ
...more
Rissa
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Diverse, descriptive and beautiful.
I dont know how to explain this book, it was so simple, yet so intricate and i really enjoyed it.

One thing I didn't like about it is that it was slow but that was because it was sort of the simple story it had depth and extra craziness in it but overall it was semi slow. I also wasn't fan of all of the perspectives I like certain peoples perspective more than others but that's typical for me.

Otherwise it was a very good book.

"You wait until your whole world
...more
Milka
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book the moment I saw that cover for the first time last year. JUST LOOK AT IT! IT IS LIKE A PIECE OF ART! I bumped into the UK cover while looking for the purchase links for this one, and though that one is cute, I WOULD REFUSE TO BUY A PHYSICAL COPY OF THIS BOOK WITH ANY OTHER COVER THAN THE BEAUTY PICTURED HERE!

I can assure that this book is so much more than a beautiful cover though. This one was one of those books that I had a VERY DIFFICULT time putting down once I
...more
Morris
“The Smell of Other People’s Houses” is an engaging and unique literary novel that is a joy for all of the senses.

What I loved most about the book is the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and obviously, the smells. They are so vivid that you feel as though you are standing in the characters’ places. Everyone knows that different houses have different smells, but the author made the smells match the personalities of those living in the houses. It’s difficult to explain, but you will see what I
...more
Jazzy
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
ugh! Right in the feels again x)
Julie Zantopoulos
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it, read-in-2017
The first fifty or so pages were difficult for me as I tried to take in the multiple POV's but oh my goodness, was this story a beautiful, heartbreaking, and hope-filled story.

There seemed to be great rep for the Alaskan culture of both indigenous and non-natives alike. There was a focus on the hunting/fishing culture in the area as well and I felt they were all done really well. The book spans from 1958-1970 but aside from talk of Alaska becoming a US state it reads like a contemporary in most
...more
Bruna Miranda
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Não é todo mundo que consegue escrever um livro com várias perspectivas que eu me interesse em todos os personagens; mas eu AMEI como as histórias iam se conectando - achei as conexões lindas de ver.

Eu adorei a narrativa, como a história é contada de um jeito simples e que me lembrou o estilo do Benjamin A. Saenz e do Sherman Alexie. O cenário do Alaska - e envolve muitas menções a pescaria, caça etc -, ainda mais em um período em que estava sendo decidido se seria um estado dos EUA ou não, é mu
...more
Espe
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5

Reseña completa: https://letraslibrosymas.blogspot.com...

El eje de la trama son los personajes, son el alma de la novela y por eso la autora ha sabido aprovechar bien las circunstancias y lo narra desde la perspectiva de todos ellos, para conocerlos mejor, meternos en su piel y poder apreciar cómo cada uno de ellos vive un mismo momento. No voy a desvelar muchos detalles porque es que es tan cortito en libro y tan especial que me da pena contaros algo de más y que no disfrutéis de la historia
...more
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Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock was born and raised in Alaska. She worked many years fishing commercially with her family and as a reporter for Alaska Public Radio stations around the state. She was also the host and producer of “Independent Native News,” a daily newscast produced in Fairbanks, focusing on Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Canada’s First Nations. Her writing is inspired by her family’s f ...more
More about Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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“Sometimes you can be inserted into another person's life just by witnessing something you were never really supposed to be a part of.” 27 likes
“We don't have to be blood to be family.” 25 likes
More quotes…