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Toby, Impington Village College

The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other Peoples Houses is a thought provoking read about love and hope, despite the gloom of the situation.

The book is set in four character's view's: Ruth, Dora, Alyce and Hank. Ruth lives with a strict Catholic grandmother and an energetic little sister, Hank and his two brothers, Sam and Jack, are running away from a drunken stepfather, Dora lives with her friend Dumpling due to her never sober Mother and her extremely abusive father and Alyce wants to be a ballerina but can't bring herself not to go on the fishing trips with her father - the only time of the year she gets to see him as her parents are divorced. Despite being from such very different backgrounds their stories are all neatly intertwined, which is quite rare in similar kinds of books.

The thing that puzzles me about this book is that the characters are all obsessed with the smell of other people. However it is nice because it gives you more of the sense of smell, which is often neglected in books. This is also used to enhance emotions, which gave me a more in-depth idea of how the characters were feeling.

One thing that did define the story was that Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock made Ruth the main character, her role was bigger than everyone else's, but the story depended on Hank and his two brothers to make more valid connections.

As well as this, it wasn't a book where you read a chapter and wonder who the author is now talking about; it is so clearly written that you won't be able to forget whose part you are reading.

Overall, this is a wonderful book and deserves to be on the Carnegie shortlist. I would strongly recommend it for people over 10.

Posted on: 4th June 2017 at 02:24 pm

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