Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review ~ Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Dirty Little Secrets
by C.J. Omololu
Hardcover, 212 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Walker Childrens

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.

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This book has been out a while, but I just recently came across it and just had to read it.  If you have ever seen an episode of Hoarders, then you know the kind of living conditions some people live in.  It can be pretty bad - no, not bad....horrific.  But what is really bad is what the children of hoarders have to live through - fifth, lack of hot water,  shame and embarrassment to list a few.  Sometimes though, these children just become immune to the fifth and disaster around them.  It becomes the norm.

This story, although fiction, is a story of a true problem that children of hoarders face on a daily basis.  This is Lucy's story and a sad one at that.  She can't have friends over for fear that they will judge her and then on top of that, her mother blames the messiness on the fact that Lucy won't help out.  But when Lucy does try to help out, all hell breaks loose and the mother goes ballistic.  It's a never ending cycle - one that Lucy has a hard time dealing with.  Then one day, her mother dies from an asthma attack while Lucy is away.  Finding her mother laying on the ground buried in magazines was hard enough to deal with, but then the real problem comes forth.  How are the paramedics going to come in and get her mother?  There is no possible way to navigate through the piles of stuff that has accumulated throughout the house.  And then there was the realization that her friends would finally find out her family's "Dirty Little Secret".

I don't want to spoil the story for any future readers, but what I will say is although I don't agree with the way Lucy handled the situation (probably because I can't even comprehend what she was going through),  this was a heart-breaking story  that not only was outstanding and well-written, it is truly a must read.  Maybe you have a friend that won't let you in their house or meet their parents.  Maybe everything looks great on the outside, but what really goes on behind closed doors? 

From the back cover......
     "Everyone has secrets.  Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.
     At least that's what I told myself.
     I stood at the bottom of our cracked cement walkway, the ache in my stomach starting the minute I was Mom's car in the driveway.
     If you were paying attention, you could spot the black mold gathering along the edges of the living room windows and the way the curtains were pressed against the glass by stacks of boxes.  Those were just small hints about what was really behind the shingled walls, but nobody on the outside ever noticed.
     From out here, it looked pretty normal.
     All of our secrets started at the front door."

And just to give you a visual on what Lucy's house might have looked liked if this was a true story, I present you with this YouTube video I found......

4 stars

I write as C.J., but you can call me Cynthia. My YA novel DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS came out in early 2010. My next book TRANSCENDENCE came out in June of 2012, followed by the sequel INTUITION in June of 2013. My newest book is a YA thriller called THE THIRD TWIN and will be out in February 2015 followed by another standalone thriller RECOVERY in early 2016.

You might notice that I only give 4 or 5 star reviews. That isn't because I love everything, it's because I only review things I really love. As a writer, I know all that goes into making a book, and while a story might not strike a chord with me, who am I to say it won't with someone else? I hate tomatoes, but lots of people like them, and it's the same with a book. So, if I rate something here, it's means that I'd let you borrow my copy, but I really do want you to give it back so that I can read it again.

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