cover image The Smell of Other People’s Houses

The Smell of Other People’s Houses

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. Random/Lamb, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-553-49778-6

Set in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 1970s, this lyrical debut follows four teens whose stories gradually converge through a well-plotted series of loves, tragedies, and adventures. Dora only wants to find a safe home and loving family, but when good fortune strikes, it may be her downfall. Ruth misses her parents and hopes to escape the harsh life she has endured with her Gran, but a relationship with a popular guy at school might not be the escape she needs. Stowing away on a ship proves dangerous for Hank, who seeks a safe haven for himself and his brothers, and Alyce must choose between her love of dancing and her father’s expectation that she continue to spend summers fishing with him. Using alternating narratives, debut novelist Hitchcock deftly weaves these stories together, setting them against the backdrop of a native Alaska that readers will find intoxicating. The gutsiness of these four teens who, at heart, are trying to find their places in the world and survive against challenging odds, will resonate with readers of all ages. Ages 12–up. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. (Feb.)