No one can ever come into Lucy’s house – no one, ever. How could she let them see her mother’s hoardings? The towering stacks of newspapers, the mold covering every surface in the kitchen, all the “treasures” that she will never let Lucy clean up or move or even touch. No one can know the secret that Lucy endures. Just 2 more years of high school, then she can leave forever this house so overstuffed that she must slide sideways through the hall to her room…
No friends for years, not after someone saw the mountains of clothes through the front door and started calling Lucy “Garbage Girl” at her old school. But for some reason, Kaylie chose her as partner in art class and invited her to sleep over and became her friend. On a rare night out together, Lucy and Kaylie run into Josh and Seth at the movies – Josh! Lucy’s secret crush, who invites her to hear his band play the next night!
No reason for her mother to be home from work at the hospital when Lucy gets back from Kaylie’s the next morning. No reason for her mother to have died of an asthma attack in the night. No way that Lucy can call 911 into this horror of mildew-furred boxes and shopping bags stacked past the windows… what can she do?
Mature readers will race through this book, wondering and worrying with Lucy as she tries to dig herself out of this wretched situation that she could never control.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA
Life has its secrets--everyone has secrets. Lucy, however, lives a secret. She has never had a best friend, or a sleepover, or had friends come over and just hang out. Her older sister and brother have both moved away, leaving sixteen-year old Lucy alone in the house with her mother and the STUFF. After her parents' divorce, Lucy's mother became a different person. She has filled their lives and their home with junk and trash.
If you've seen the t.v. show "Hoarders" and thought "How does someone get like this?"--or "How does someone live that way?"--Dirty Little Secrets may answer those questions.
When her secret is about to be front page news, Lucy decides to take things into her own hands. Her mother may have forced them to live like that when she was young, but now Lucy is older and she can find a way to deal with the problems.
Readers will like Lucy and empathize with her plight; some may even pity her, but all readers will want her to rise above her circumstances and excel. Recommended grades 6-up.
Some mature subject matter. Lucy is basically mentally abused by her mother.
Recommended by Pamela Thompson, Library Media Specialist.
See this and other reviews on her ya blog http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/
Lucy lives with her mother. Dad disappeared years ago to a new life and a new wife and family, but he sends money on occasion. Lucy is the youngest. Her older brother and sister have moved out. Lucy is left to deal alone with their mother's hoarding behavior in a house that has no working furnace or hot water --she's embarrassed and doesn't want anyone to see how they live. At the same time, Lucy is proud of her mother's work as an oncology nurse who is constantly complimented by co-workers for her caring attitude
toward her patients.
I'm not giving away the ending, and perhaps it is tied up a bit too neatly, but any teens who have been horribly embarrassed by their parents will relate to this book. The themes of living with secrets, fitting in with peer groups, and dysfunctional families will strike a note with many young adults. I recommend the book.
Recommended by Cheryl Youse, MLS Media Specialist and Webmaster, Georgia, USA