In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. This deeply moving and authentic debut is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.
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 to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable book is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed.
Praise for The Smell of Other People’s Houses
“The physical landscape of Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s Alaska is beautiful and wholly unfamiliar, but the true wonder of this thrilling, arresting debut novel is that the emotional landscape feels just as powerful—and just as untrammeled.” —Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Was Here
“Hitchcock’s debut resonates with the timeless quality of a classic. This is a fascinating character study—a poetic interweaving of rural isolation and coming-of-age.” —John Corey Whaley, author of the Michael L. Printz Award winner Where Things Come Back
“An honest, gritty, and moving portrait of growing up in Alaska. Only someone who knows and loves this place through and through could tell this story. This book is Alaska.” —Eowyn Ivey, author of the New York Times bestseller The Snow Child
“As only a native of Alaska can, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock blends narratives of indigenous and non- into a buffet of pain and beauty. Highly recommended.” —Tim Tingle, author of the series How I Became a Ghost
“The untamed landscape is reflected in the wilderness of the human heart. Hitchcock shows us that it’s possible to survive the crossings between wealthy and impoverished, indigenous and settler, proving that any line that divides can just as easily bind.” —Anne Keala Kelly (Kanaka `Ōiwi), filmmaker and journalist
“The Alaskan answer to The House on Mango Street, with full, round portraits presented with poetry, grace, and insight.” —David Cheezam, Fireside Books, Palmer, AK
“This is a novel of second chances, of teens being teens, and of what it meant to be the first generation of youth in Alaska to experience statehood. Truly universal.” —Kari Meutsch, Phoenix Books, Burlington and Essex, VT
“A thoughtful, realistic novel about community, both the one you are born into, and the one you can create.” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA
“As Sherman Alexie and Louise Erdrich showed readers life on Native American reservations, now Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock shares the lives of native and white inhabitants of Alaska shortly after it became a state. Poignant and heart-wrenching.” —Danielle Borsch, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA