Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
author’s website: C. J. Omololu
release date: February 2, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
genre: Realistic Fiction
length: 224 pages
overall rating: 4 stars
*summary* (from author’s website)
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?
“Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.” This first line provides a beautiful starting point to the reality of this story. In Lucy’s reality, the surface looks fine, but beneath that very thin and fragile surface lies a completely chaotic life in which nothing can be thrown away. Lucy’s mother has hoarded every minute thing that has ever played even a minor role in their lives. Their house has piles and piles and piles of junk that Lucy’s mother can’t seem to part with. This reality isn’t something Lucy likes, but she has found ways to live with it, especially since she knows she only has a few years before she can leave it behind
As I read this story, there was a change in my perception of logical responses. Logically, the first thing you do in an emergency is call the police. Except . . . if Lucy had called the police right away, it would have changed the surface picture that everyone knew. It would have changed people’s perceptions and opinions, and it could have changed Lucy’s few friendships. After reading the book and understanding Lucy, her logic seemed to make sense, and even more, you find that she was incredibly brave!
While this book spans less than 24 hours, memories that Lucy has while cleaning up the house paint a picture of her life growing up. There is a lot of depth created in this character because of the things she has had to deal with growing up. This was an intense topic with a genuine feel. It was well written and difficult to put down.
*short and snappy*
writing: smooth – the story is told with flashbacks, memories, and current plots woven together in a way that makes sense
plot: keeps you guessing – just when you think you know what she’ll do, Lucy surprises you!
characters: Lucy has incredible depth. The other characters are developed enough to play their roles, but this is really a story about Lucy.
judging by the cover: great cover! The cover shows the difference in what is inside the window and outside without being too obvious