by C.J. Omololu
Pub. Date: February 2, 2010
Synopsis: Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.
With details that are as fascinating as they are disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt at normalcy. Her fear and isolation are palpable as readers are pulled down a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have readers completely hooked.
I found this book to be very original and well written. I liked how Omololu was able to capture how nostalgic it is to go through old belongings and the forgotten memories that resurface. Lucy's relationship with her mother is tragic and difficult to read about. It is hard to imagine a daughter not calling 911 immediately when finding their mother dead, but that just shows how embarrassing and devastating her mother's hoarding was. The detail that Omololu uses to describe the filth in Lucy's house helps the reader to visualize the disgusting living situation that Lucy was able to survive in through adaptation. This story is not just about Lucy trying to hide a painful secret that she thinks will destroy her life, but it is also about the effect that hoarding has on Lucy's entire family.
"Dirty Little Secrets" is a quick read because of it's length, but it is still able to give readers a memorable story. The ending left me a wanting to know what would happen next, but I realize that would be a whole other story. This makes the ending very fitting because there is so much uncertainty about Lucy's life that there really isn't a neat way to wrap up her story without it being too hokey and predictable.