Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors
Twelve-year-old Homer Pudding loves everything related to treasure-hunting. He aspires to be like his famous treasure hunter Uncle Drake. There's a problem with having such big dreams, though; Homer's just a boy living on a goat farm. It seems everyone around him won't fully support him. As if things couldn't get any worse, his family finds out Uncle Drake died in a freak accident. All that's left for Homer is Drake's "prized possession", a basset hound. How is Homer supposed to be the next treasure hunter now that the one person who believed in him is gone? Plus, what could be so special about some sad-looking dog?
Sort-of spoilers! Be warned.
There's a lot of reasons why I appreciate this book. For one, it's part of a series yet you don't have to get the other books to feel satisfied with the story. But hey, I also enjoyed the story and how it was told! The story had its lighthearted, funny moments. The narrator occasionally even directly spoke to the reader throughout the novel. I adore fiction but for the most part, I stick with stuff that I can imagine actually happening. This novel did a good job quenching that thirst for realism. I ended the story having little to no questions on what happened. Having too many questions after a story is almost always bad.
So here's a sort-of spoiler: Smells Like Dog ends happily. . . for the most part. (There was a small case of misty eyes at the end but nothing too horrible.) And it's not boring and predictable! I liked seeing all the characters develop and I thought it ended well. There was no forced romance, too! More often than not stories end with "the hero gets the girl" or "the duo falls for each other" and I often expect these tropes to show up in stories like this one. It was refreshing to expect something so exhausted in books & TV shows and have it not happen.
My verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 4.5 stars out of 5! It's a fun read that can keep you interested all the way through. Homer's pretty cool for a twelve-year-old. Anyone can read this novel!