Kid’s Book Review: Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town

Kid’s Book Review: Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town

About the Book and Author

This YA novel by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock takes readers on a journey across the rural American West. Our 12 year old reviewer describes it as “a short but powerful and important read” that she absolutely recommends to children aged from 12-13 years old saying that adults  would really enjoy reading it too. You can read Becky’s full review if you scroll down this post. Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is published by Faber.

In this book readers meet the teenagers who live in the small towns across these states, separated by distance, but whose stories are woven together in the most unexpected of ways.

Whether they are brought together by the spread of wildfire, by the priest who’s moved from state to state or by the hunt for a missing child, these incredible tales blaze with secrets, rage and love.

book cover image
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock was born and raised in Alaska and worked for a longtime as a journalist for Alaska Public Radio. She spent ten years fishing commercially and raised her children on a boat in Southeast Alaska – bringing a rare authenticity to her writing about America’s last frontier.

She now lives in Lyons, Colorado, where she’s slowly rebuilding her house after the catastrophic floods of September 2013. The Smell of Other People’s Houses washer first novel which was  shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the UKLA Book Award.


Book Review

It is so expertly written I didn't find the changing of location and characters confusing or peculiar, it is masterful.

Everyone Dies Famous In a Small Town by Bonnie – Sue Hitchcock is a hauntingly brilliant book. Every character sticks with you throughout and beyond the book. Each character is written with such depth that no matter how big or small their problem is in comparison to other characters, you get a better idea of who they are and what they’re feeling. It is written so well and has simple but impactful language. I think that Bonnie Sue Hitchcock intwines every story masterfully as she always keeps us guessing, leaving room for our imagination.

In this book Bonnie – Sue Hitchcock changes location and characters every chapter. I really loved how it is set throughout small and large towns in America, some by the sea, some in Alaska and everywhere in between. What I found really interesting is how one chapter you are wrapped up in a wildfire ravaging everything in its path and the next chapter you are in Alaska surrounded by snow. By the end of the first chapter I was already gripped, at the end of each chapter I wanted to read about the next character and move to the next location. It is so expertly written I didn’t find the changing of location and characters confusing or peculiar, it was masterful.

This book is realistic and is set in our world but it is fiction. It tackles many issues, some within families and relationships, some to do with the environment and climate change. There are quite a few themes but all of the characters are living around grief and sometimes anger. Some of the causes for these are heartbreak, betrayal, and sometimes just miscommunication, however there are some darker themes like a child being kidnapped and a priest taking liberties. So I would recommend it to readers from around 12/13 and above as some younger readers may find these particular themes upsetting.

Even after finishing this short but brilliant book I was still thinking about what I’ve read, wondering what happened to the characters and overall loving the book. There are a few tears a long the way especially at the end, it makes you think and appreciate all of your blessings. But all in all it is an absolutely amazing read.

Everyone Dies Famous In a Small Town is a short but powerful and important read and I think adults and older children would both really enjoy it.

I would absolutely recommend it.

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Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Becky
  • Age: 12 Years
  • Likes: walking my dog, pizza, playing music
  • Dislikes: marmalade and playing Monopoly!
  • Favourite Book: The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Favourite Song: Piano Man by Billy Joel
  • Favourite Film: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers