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Penny, St Albans High School for Girls

The Smell of Other People's Houses

I really liked this book. The lives of four teenagers unfold with the seasons of the year, narrated by each in turn with the calendar providing the framework for their intermingling stories. Exploring issues of identity and what it means to belong, the narrative unfolds as Ruth, Dora, Alyce and Hank come to realise '[you] don't have to be blood to be family'. It was the author's use of metaphor though that really hooked me in. I smiled often as I conjured up the quirky images, creating a truly vivid sense of the Alaskan landscape where the plot is set. If there was one disappointment it was in the ending - after the realistic ups and downs of the teenagers' lives in the story, the feel-good ending was comforting but perhaps a bit too easy on the reader.

Posted on: 28th April 2017 at 02:16 pm

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