Author: C.J. Omololu
Publication Date: February 2010
Tags: fiction, hoarding, family secrets
Book Acquisition: received a finished hardcover copy from the publisher for review
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
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?
This was a pretty much a WOW book for me. You know the type - after you finished it all you can really say is 'wow'. That's exactly how I felt. This book was powerful. The storyline was one I have never encountered in YA books (or adult books for that matter). I couldn't imagine living my life the way Lucy and her family did. At the same time, Omololu did such a wonderful job bringing this story to life, I felt like I was right there beside Lucy throughout her ordeal.
This books is pretty much out of the range of my normal genre - preferring fantasy, horror and paranormal stories. But I am so glad I read it. What Lucy has to go through is horrific and at first, I couldn't believe she was trying to cover up her mother's death. Her reasoning wasn't sound, the scenarios she came up with weren't realistic. It didn't take me long to sympathize though. Almost everything she did she did out of desperation. Keeping her family's secret is the most important thing in Lucy's life.
The ending was pretty shocking. I didn't see it coming but looking back, after finishing the book, it fit. It helped all the pieces fall together.
I would recommend this book to fans of realistic teen fiction who are looking for something different.The story is truly moving and I'm looking forward to reading more from Omololu in the future.
Walker Publishing Company, A Division of Bloomsbury
Children Of Hoarders