Posted in book review

#16 The smell of other people’s houses

smell

Right, time to crack on with this year’s Carnegie shortlist. I’m hoping to finish them all this year before the winner is announced, wish me luck! First off is The smell of other people’s houses, the YA debut novel by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.

Set in 1970 Alaska, the story follows the lives of four very different young people. Ruth, following an encounter with a rich boy, finds herself in a complicated situation with the Catholic grandmother who raises her and her sister. Dora struggles to find her place in the world after escaping a miserable childhood of abuse and violence. Alyce longs for a life as a ballerina, but is desperately not to lose her annual fishing trips with her father. Hank is running away from home with his brothers. But what happens when all of their stories collide?

What I loved about this little book was the way that Hitchcock links smells and memories. The language is beautiful and deliberate throughout. I loved the way the characters were painted, from the lovely to the truly vile. As with a lot of YA books, it does cover a plethora of issues; from teenage pregnancy, to abuse, to struggles with identity and abandonment, but it doesn’t feel like a slog at any point.  I also loved learning more about Alaska, from its rich history, to the struggles of its native people and their differing ways of life.

A great start and a real contender.

4/5  

Advertisements

Author:

A self-confessed book nerd and lover of libraries, new to blogging.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s