Age: Young Adult
Release date: February 2nd, 2010
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 of 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?
Review: Dirty Little Secrets was shocking, intense, and quite surprising.
The novel takes place in about a day (chapters split into certain times of the day), with some flashbacks thrown in for the reader's understanding. The first chapter was a bit boring, but once Lucy goes home to find her mother, things pick up pace. Lucy and her mom have quite a unique relationship, where Lucy's mother is constantly blaming her for the house, or for losing "important" items. Honestly, I was cringing while reading some of these flashbacks. It was almost heartbreaking to see such a disconnect between the family members, especially regarding Lucy's siblings.
It was nice to see that despite Lucy's secretive nature, she still managed to make an awesome friend, and have a love-interest. At times Lucy could come across as almost uncaring regarding memories of her mother, yet she still did care about her mother on some level (despite the way her mother treated her).
Highlights: Description. After reading this novel, I could clearly see Lucy's house, and the chaos inside. I loved how strong Lucy was as well, but at times I felt like that was also a bit of a weakness. She was too clear-minded in such a difficult time. Yet, it was still a great book that had an interesting idea (living in a hoarded home, and how far you'd go to keep it a secret), and the plot kept me anxious and interested until the very last word.
Lowlights: At times, I just couldn't believe Lucy hadn't called the police straight away. Also, I wasn't quite sure at the end if Lucy was even sane, considering the end. Yet, it almost did feel like the only logical way.