The first thing that might come to your mind after reading the title is the All-American Rejects song. But no, this book is not related to the song at all. Instead, it’s describing a book by C.J. Omololu that deals with a literal dirty predicament: hoarding.  Image

Lucy Tompkins, who narrates the story, lives at home with her single mother. At 16, she can’t wait to graduate from high school and move out just like her older siblings, Phillip and Sara. While it may seem like it’s because of typical teenage angst, the actual answer is far from it. It’s because of her mother’s hoarding. Lucy’s become a master at masking her family’s secret, but when she finds herself in a situation that could jeopardize that, she must decide what to do.

To me, this book is brilliant because of the premise. I’ve never read any other book using hoarding as the conflict Although I’m sure people have heard about the habit of hoarding before, probably from those TV shows where professionals help people with those issues, using it as the subject of a novel was a great idea. Omololu chose to offer a fresh synopsis to young adults, setting it apart from most other books in the demographic.

The story is told over the course of one day, with each chapter beginning with a specific time ( 5:30 a.m. and so on.) This heightens the suspense of the book, especially once Lucy realizes she doesn’t have a lot of time left. A series of flashbacks gives a background: what Lucy’s family and friends were like and the events Lucy had to endure after her father left. Additionally, Omololu’s description about the junk and filth in Lucy’s house is strong enough to make you squirm and cringe.

This is a book everyone should read. It takes a hoarding, a relatively obscure habit, and sheds a light on what living in the filth is really like and the psychological effect it can have on people.

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