Dirty Little Secrets

Dirty Little Secrets

by C. J. Omololu


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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. Tackling an increasingly discussed topic that is both fascinating and disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy's desperate attempt to save her family. Readers join Lucy on a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen's life will have them completely hooked.

Praise for Dirty Little Secrets:

"Shocking, tragic, desperate, and believable. . . . a valuable new addition to heartbreaking but honest books about teens." -School Library Journal

"An emotionally charged novel. . .readers will be rapt." -Kirkus Reviews

"A disturbing appraisal of how a mother's obsessive hoarding affects her teenage daughter in this frank novel." -Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802722331
Publisher: Walker & Company
Publication date: 03/15/2011
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.74(w) x 8.17(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

C. J. Omololu (Oh-moh-LOH-loo) didn't grow up in a hoarded home, but has seen what the disorder can do to a family. Her research with the organization Children of Hoarders informed Dirty Little Secrets, which is her first novel. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.


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Dirty Little Secrets 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
KLBCHOICES More than 1 year ago
Lucy Anne Tompkins has been hiding from the world for years - coming up with excuses and making up stories to keep people from stepping foot inside of her home- so no one would find out about her dirty little secret. Lucy's sister, Sara, and brother, Phil, have escaped the house on Collier Avenue and now she's the only one left; the only one to care for her mother, Joanna, who doesn't see anything abnormal about living in a house filled with tons of garbage, old magazines and newspapers stacked high and taken over by filth and mold. Lucy is the child of a hoarder. I felt bad for Lucy: She was so afraid she was going to lose the only two friends she had, she was verbally attacked by her mother, her dad didn't care what was going on with her, she was paranoid at times and she took responsibility for things that weren't her fault. This book has twenty chapters. By the end of Chapter 19 I guessed what was going to happen next but it wasn't the ending I expected. Lucy went to the extreme to keep the family "hoarding" secret from becoming known but I really don't believe she saw it that way and that, among a few other things, made me wonder about her mental health. Omololu did a very good job with this story. The way it moves from present to past flows very well and the descriptions of Lucy's home are so vivid I felt like I was there (I often scrunched my face in disgust). This was an interesting read. Hoarding is something I will never fully understand but Dirty Little Secrets offers insight into this unusual behavior.
xalovestoryx More than 1 year ago
Omololu's debut novel, which tells the suffering of a young girl whose mother is a hoarder, infiltrates deep into the unknowns of a largely overlooked mental condition. This novel profoundly illustrates the pain and embarrassment sixteen-year-old Lucy endures to fake a normal life, and the lengths she will go to to protect and hide her family's secret. Although the story does grow dull at times, it packs a very poignant punch, and will likely stay with the reader long after the last page is read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever suspenceful yet heartbreaking i just couldnt put the nook down i read it over and over
carebear_ More than 1 year ago
Dirty little secrets-C.J OMOLOLU I thought this book was very intresting and kept me going after every chapter i wanted to know what would happen next! it had moments when that were sad and it connected to real life situations i would recommend this to everyone, so many secrets! -Brina Timber Creek High School class of 2014
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an awesome book but sad book at some points. I havnt finished it yet but i bet it is amazing. I got it from a book fair but it is truely aamazing an then i orderd it on my nook and now i am reding it on here. At one point i did get bored with it and i almost stoped reading it but i kept on reading it and i got interested in it. Now i cant stop reading it i lay in bed at night and read it untill like 1 oclock in the morning. Lol.
cheryl wood More than 1 year ago
really good! it could be disterbing but really good and has a great ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It tells the story of a teenage girl going through realistic problems. Some parts were really sad. Overall, it shows a girl going to great lengths to keep her mother's hoarding a secret. The sad truth is that this happens all the time, and people want to do something about it but they can't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a very interesting subject that the book dealt with to show the struggle of one teen.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Most of us have seen those episodes of Hoarders, but even seeing it doesn't seem to make it any more real for those of us that have never been around it. Omololu paints a picture of hoarding that comes to life. Dirty Little Secrets is one of the best books I've read recently. It captured my attention immediately and still hasn't let it go, even after finishing the book. It was a quick read, but please don't mistake that as meaning it wasn't a good book. Lucy was a really great main character. She's smart, strong, determined, and flawed. It's her flaws, though, that make her into such a believable and likeable character. My heart broke for her and I was hoping the entire time she would come out okay in the end. Omololu adds just enough romance to the book for a nice balance. I really like that the romance of the book didn't become the focus. The book wouldn't have impacted me the same way if the romance was more prominent than it was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book keeps yiu on edge the whole time and is really great i would reccomend anyone to read this, the book is really great this author really was a great writer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow amazing 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very interesting to me, because i wouldnt think that this book would have ended like this. I am not going to tell you the story o this book, because you should read it and find out. What i will tell you is that it is a secret keeoung story sn that it is mysterious. You never know what will happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unexpected ending cfor a great plot....definitly a must read
Kristen Nelson More than 1 year ago
REALLY amazinng story!!! Very well written. Could see this become a movie.
wsquared on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
High school junior Lucy hasn't been able to have a normal life because she's constantly trying keep anyone from finding out her family secret. Lucy's mom is an obsessive hoarder and every inch of their home is stacked with paper, trash, and other "treasures" that she can't bear throwing away. Lucy is just beginning to make some good friends when she returns home to find her mom dead, buried under a pile of magazines. Unable to bear the thought of calling 911 and exposing their secrets to the world, Lucy goes to great lengths to make everything appear normal. The premise of this debut novel is extremely dark and Lucy's actions are completely irrational, so the fact that the author can get the reader to empathize with Lucy's decisions and root for her says a lot about the author's powerful storytelling abilities. I was completely engrossed from beginning to end, and while the conclusion was a bit far-fetched and left a lot of practical loose ends, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, compelling read.
BookSwarm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Poor Lucy. She's lived with her mother's secret her entire life, never getting too close to anyone and definitely never inviting them into her house. The one time one of her friends did get a look inside, she gave Lucy a terrible nickname. Lucy changed schools to get away. I can't even imagine living like that. Piles of trash, unwashed dishes, stacks of newspapers...it reminded me of that Shel Silverstein poem, "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out." (Huh. Makes me wonder if Sarah Cynthia was actually a hoarder, rather than just a lazy kid who didn't want to take out the trash.) C.J. Omolou really did her research for this book, portraying the difficulties facing someone living with a hoarder, someone who doesn't have the same tendencies, seamlessly.(This next part could be considered spoiler-y considering it's teased in the blurb but this event happens in the first quarter of the book, so I'm going for it.)When she finds her mother dead, Lucy has to make a difficult decision--and she choses to try and preserve her now-semi-normal life by holding off calling the police and trying to clean up the house so she and her house won't end up on the news. It's not a completely rational decision but Lucy really has no one to talk to about it. Her older sister is just like their mother and her brother has no desire to return or even discuss anything regarding their mother. She can't tell her friend, she can't tell her sort-of boyfriend. This is a decision she has to make completely on her own. And she has to live with the consequences.DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS. You have to read it to believe it.
brandileigh2003 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a book that caught my attention, as most books dealing with hard issues do. It sucked me in from the beginning, and I really sympathized with Lucy. Her best friend and her boy interest were very well written and made me want them ;)Her mom, though a hoarder, is given some redeeming qualities, showing the person that she used to be and a glimpse at how she spiraled down so.*SPOILERS*Though the emotions were well written and I certainly can see how the book concluded and why Lucy set her house on fire at the end, something just seems almost anticlimatic. If that makes any sense. She finds her mom dead, struggles with what people would think, and then in the end does not even reach out to her siblings, one of which at least, was her ally and understood. I would like to see how things were for Lucy afterwards, and watch her deal with the guilt. But then again, maybe that is just me.Though above paragraph only caused me to deduct one star, and I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes emotional, tough books.
umachan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucy's house looks normal from the outside. Unless you look really close, then you might see the mold creeping up the curtains or the shadow of piles building up to the ceiling. Lucy's mother is a compulsive hoarder, and Lucy lives in shame and guilt and fear of being found out an labeled "garbage girl" (again). Then something happens and Lucy needs to make some choices that will forever change the way she lives. A thoughtful look into the life of a child of a hoarder, but the narrative does occasionally drag a bit. Recommended.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucy has a secret. No one is allowed to visit her house and find out that her mother is a hoarder and they live in filth and disrepair. Finally, she has a friend, and possibly a boyfriend and she will do anything to protect her secret.
ericajsc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s a small miracle that I was able to finish this book, not because it wasn¿t good but because I would look around my house and see a stack of paper and think, ¿I need to clean that up, NOW!¿ Despite my urge to do a thorough cleaning of the house (and believe me when I say that urge is a rare one), my desire to finish Lucy¿s story won.What I liked about the structure of the book was that, though the events of the book only cover a small period of time, Lucy¿s flashbacks told the backstory in a way that didn¿t seem choppy or out of place. Every story has a connection to what she¿s dealing with in the present. It is through these flashbacks that I came to understand exactly what Lucy endured in the house with her mom. As she is forced to deal with the problem at hand, I felt the isolation and desperation right along with her. There were points in the story when I thought, ¿Oh, she is so screwed. There¿s no way she can get out of this. How will this ever be resolved?¿ Then, at the same moment as Lucy, I figured out the answer to her problem. I always like books that don¿t show me the solution long before the main character figures it out.Lucy¿s friendship with Kaylie wasn¿t a cliché book friendship. Although Lucy shut Kaylie out of so much of her life, Kaylie didn¿t back down. But, at the same time, she wasn¿t forceful when it came to getting Lucy to share her life with her. Instead, Kaylie pushed just enough to be helpful and show her concern. And then there is Josh. He is so much more than a cute Johnny Depp-esque boy; he is her hope for the future. (I totally don¿t mean that in a damsel in distress/knight in shining armor thing.) The idea of him, of being able to be with anyone without hiding this secret part of her life, is the greatest motivating factor for Lucy to make a change. But, the cute Johnny Depp-esque stuff doesn¿t hurt; in fact, it plays well.One note: when I finished this book, I felt a sense of relief (not that I finished the book, but for the way the story ends). As time passed, though, I started to realize that Lucy¿s story could go in so many directions, not just the one I assigned to it as I shut the book. Some people may not like that ambiguity, but I¿m starting to find that those are probably my favorite kind of endings.
PureImagination on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book takes place in only 24 hours. Lucy has a big secret. One that no one must never find out about. Her house is full of trash. Newspapers stacked to the ceiling. Garbage piled in the kitchen. Mold covering everything. So when Lucy discovers her mother dead under a pile of magazines, what can she do? If she called 911 her family and their secrets would be on the evening news. This is the story of how Lucy copes with her mother's death and their secrets.This book is a little disturbing because of it's content but I still really enjoyed it. Lucy is just like every other teenager. She worries what people will think of her. She worries about keeping her friends. She is very easy to relate too but she also has this huge secret that she can't share with anyone. How far will she go to keep it? That's what keeps you on the edge of your seat through this entire book. Half of me wanted Lucy to just get it over with! Call 911! But the other half agreed with her. She had to do everything she could to cover this up. Through the entire book I racked my brain trying to figure out how this could work out in Lucy's favor. I could find no options. If you want to know how it turns out you will just have to read it!Overall I really enjoyed the book. It was something completely different than what I have been reading. C.J. Omololu did a great job of taking a very disturbing situation and turning it into something that we could all connect to. I will definitely be reading more by Omololu in the future.
eenerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books you will read in one sitting. Lucy is a high school junior trying to appear "normal" when her home situation is spiraling out of control at breakneck speed. Her struggles to remain anonymous, her new-found friend, and a boy who seems to really like her, all hang by a thread when her mother-a compulsive hoarder-dies suddenly. Lucy realizes that if she calls 911, everyone will know her secret and the shameful truth of her life will be splashed across the local news, ending any chance of her living quietly until she is an adult and can go her own way. An engaging story of the longing to appear normal and feel in control of one's life, and the lenghts one young woman is willing to go through to get to that point.
rata on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book took me a little while to get into as i could not initially relate to the idea of hoarding rubbish, but as the story line unfolded i really could feel what Lucy was experiencing, shame. This book will appeal to those chidlren who were ashamed of the goings on in their house when they were growing up. Children living amidst the shambles who were frightened, bullied, teased, pitied or even regarded as tainted by the community. If you were one of those and couldn't wait to get the Hell out of it, then you'll totallly relate to this story and the desperation Lucy felt and they way she dealt with it. Rata
frankcezar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just finished it. Lucy is such a believable 16-year-old, and the mess she was in was so emotionally draining, I'll probably think about her all day tomorrow. I didn't want the book to end, yet I wanted to know how it ended. Good story.
thehidingspot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading the plot summary of DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, I was both horrified and intensely curious. I couldn't imagine how Omololu could make such an extreme situation work. In fact, I worried throughout the entire novel about how it would all be resolved, but I honestly cannot think of a better or more satisfying conclusion than the one Omololu wrote.Omololu picked an extreme situation as the focus for a novel, not to mention for a debut novel. I've never read anything about the subject of hoarding, but I've always had a sort of fascination with it. I think that Omololu's portrayal of hoarders, and living with hoarders, was written in a way that I could imagine how such a situation like the one in the book could develop. It seems almost too crazy to be possible, but when one considers that hoarders have a psychological compulsion to do so, it is a lot easer to imagine.I'm so glad that Omololu wrote a YA novel. Not only does DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS expose teen readers to the subject of hoarding, a largely undiscussed topic, having a younger narrator really made the story come to life. Lucy's age brought SECRETS to a whole new level. She knows that her mother has a compulsion to hoard, that she really can't control her hoarding, yet her youth impedes her ability to get help for her parent and pushes her towards hatred towards her mother and bitterness. If Lucy had been older, SECRETS would have been a completely different story - a story that I think I would have found lacking.Omololu has the amazing ability to make me actually feel Lucy's emotions. I think I had such anxiety about how the story would end because it would have had such a dramatic impact on Lucy, and I so wanted her to be free of her mother's madness. So many novels just end with a wrap up; the action is, understandably, the climax. SECRETS, however, kept me guessing and on an emotional high all the way to the last page!