I just finished reading Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu.
Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.
For sixteen years, Lucy has kept her mother's hoarding a secret. She's had to -- nobody would understand the stacks of newspapers and mounds of garbage so high they touch the ceiling and the rotting smell that she's always worried would follow her out the house. After years of keeping people at a distance, she finally has a best friend and maybe even a boyfriend if she can play it right. As long as she can make them think she's normal.
When Lucy arrives home from a sleepover to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she starts to dial 911 in a panic, but pauses before she can connect. She barely notices the filth and trash anymore, but she knows the paramedics will. First the fire trucks, and then news cameras that will surely follow. No longer will they be remembered as the nice oncology nurse with the lovely children -- they'll turn into that garbage-hoarding freak family on Collier Avenue.
With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has only minutes to make a critical decision. How far will she go to keep the family secrets safe?
Wow. This story broke my heart. I had never heard of hoarders before. I can't imagine growing up in that environment. It made me wonder if any of my students live like that. I'm not sure there is a way to know, unless the child tells you.
I felt so bad for Lucy. All she wants is a normal, teenage life. I could feel the stress and panic she was in while she was trying to clean up the house so that she could call an ambulance to come get her mom. A child/teenager should never have to go through that.
And the ending shocked me. I definitely didn't see it coming and it makes me wonder what happened to Lucy after the end of the story.
This was definitely a sad, but thought-provoking read and one I recommend!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
This book fullfills items for the following challenges:
2010 100+ Reading Challenge: 32
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 23
2010 Debut Author Challenge: 10
*FTC Disclosure: This book was given to me for free by Anna at Bloomsbury USA for a honest review.