“Normal is whatever you grow used to, like wildfires choking the life out of everything. Or a town that live through its children, over and over again, until nobody remembers a time when that wasn’t the case.”
Each chapter is its own short story. Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock does a fabulous job intertwining the lives of several teenagers from small towns in the American West and Alaska. The collection is relatable, full of heart and hope with stories about a wildfire, a camp, as well as a mysterious disappearance. (My personal favorite was Parking-Lot Flowers about a teenage boy who picks up a hitchhiker. It’s humorous and a bit suspenseful as he tries to figure out if he made a bad decision.)
There are many characters to keep track of in this book, but Hitchcock's strength is in character development. Even though we only meet a particular character for one chapter, readers will feel they know them and their story.
Readers who enjoyed Hitchcock’s previous book, “The Smell of Other People’s Houses”, will also be fond of this new one.