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The Smell of Other People's Houses

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  9,208 ratings  ·  2,046 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.

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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,208 ratings  ·  2,046 reviews

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Elise (TheBookishActress)
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.


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, isola
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 bookstars
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.)


The writing is just AMAZING. It's super visual and...sniffy. I could honestly taste and smell and see everything. And do you know how hard tha/>ALL
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
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 dange
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
Kayla Dawn
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My god, this was beautiful.
Sep 18, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This sounds interesting. Might pick it up.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2017
It was a cute read.
Something light.
Love books set in the 70s.
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 o
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.
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 say 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 Gree
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 Alaska
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

I was going to be real funny and say something along the lines of “why didn’t anyone ever tell me I should read this book,” but then I remembered the last time I did that about a book Shelby had told me about ages before I ever got around to reading it . . . .

You know the old saying: “Shoe me once, shame on you. Shoe me twice, I got your shoes.”

I’m pretty sure I got the ARC of this book 3 years ago. Now if that doesn’t show a commitment to the procrastinator lifestyle, I don’t know

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 obligate
'. . . 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 lif
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 reall
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.


Frankly speaking, I almost gave up reading this novel and save it for another day but I'm happy I
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, v/>*3.5
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 tr
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 th
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.
Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm, Myrtle Beach
3.5 stars rounded down to 3 because I liked it more than I loved it

The Smell of Other People's Houses has been on my "want to read" list since I first read the description 2 years ago.

I absolutely love how all the characters' stories intersected, but overall it was just pretty good, not great for me. I definitely could have used more background, more descriptions, more everything about each one of the story lines... what happened to Ruth's boyfriend? Why did the boys runa
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like Alaskan culture and the 1970s
Recommended to Malanie by: Rebecca Mills
“We don't have to be blood to be family.”

This was SUCH A PLEASING BOOK. It was a little slow at first? And pretty much slow the entire time. But the plot is meant to be languid but deeply emotional, so when everything comes full circle, you feel that shit in your heart. c: c: AND OH BOY, WAS I THERE.

I’ll admit it’s a little gory (for my weak constitution; I get sick seeing a paper cut). I kept willing them to stop talking about skinning animals, because I couldn’t take it at all. I’m so glad I wasn’t born in A
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 wa
Julie Zantopoulos
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
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I cannot put into words my feelings about this book. It is so beautifully written. Please read it. Please please read it.
an entire book about found families????????? oof yes please. this last chapter hit me right in the feels with a sledgehammer (4.25)
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
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
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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
“We don't have to be blood to be family.” 36 likes
“Sometimes you can be inserted into another person's life just by witnessing something you were never really supposed to be a part of.” 34 likes
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