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


“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 suddenly comes her way. 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 is in terrible danger. 

Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This book is about people who try to save each other, and how sometimes when they least expect it, they succeed.”Review

This book has been on my shelf for months, and when I decided to participate in #theunreadshelfproject2018 I knew this one was top of the list TBR. While the cover is beautiful, the title is what made me buy it. The Smell of Other People’s Houses. Even saying it out loud I can smell my Grandmother’s house, the scent of baby power and plumeria. I can smell the furnace in my Dad’s home when it kicks on for the first time all year. Smells invoke powerful memories, and I could name endless more examples.

This book is not one where I can give too much detail without the story as a whole being spoiled. The lives of four teenagers with different upbringings and circumstances entwined in the most beautiful way. The story itself is no piece of pumpkin pie. There is plenty of heartbreak and sadness, abuse and loss. However, it is one that will leave you satisfied and uplifted, I found myself smiling on more than one occasion.

Ruth is the character I most liked. I felt deeply for her, and found her to be such a sympathetic and relatable girl. Dora reminded me most of myself, only in the sense that she is very good at hiding pain with anger. Her life circumstance is the most troubling in my opinion and I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes not for one minute. Alyce grew on me,  and I found her to be the most like a regular girl, of average circumstances and average desires. Hank and his brothers were loveable and unique. That Jack is a brother everyone would want!

The story is a quick read and one where we find happy endings, even if not in the traditional sense. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend!



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