How do you come clean when your life is a mess?
Fifteen-year-old Junie is barely coping. Her mother has started sleeping in the chair in front of the TV, and the house is so packed with junk, newspapers, cupboard organizers and other helpful items from the Shopping Channel that she can barely get in the front door. Her father is no help, since he’s always with That Woman. To top it off, she’s failing math.
So when Wade Jaffre, the hot new guy at school, offers her a ride home from school, it seems too good to be true. Junie surprises herself by accepting—and even talking! But as they approach her house, her parents are outside, screaming at each other. Junie doesn’t have to think twice about directing him on to her best friend Tabitha’s house, nor about continuing the charade of pretending she lives there.
Tabitha and her mother are understanding—and willing to go along, for the moment. But as the weeks go by, Junie’s lies start piling up and the opportunity to tell the truth seems to slip away. Until the day Junie’s world—and her mother’s—is literally turned inside out for the world to see, and Junie and her mother must face the consequences of her mother’s illness ... and the lies they both told to hide it.
Everyone has seen the hoarding shows on television at some point or another or they've at least heard of them. This book is a take on the effects that hoarders have on their loved ones, specifically their children. Unlike the TV shows, this book offered a very personal feeling take on the issue without seeming too cliche or falsified.
The cover is a good representation of the book; it features a pile of clothing, which was one of the many things hoarded by the mother of the main character. Also, the pink cowboy boots do have a part in the book part way through, it's nice to see some tie ins on the cover. The bright pinks and oranges are very eye catching and enjoyable to look at; not too harsh on the eyes. The tag line, "How do you come clean when your life is a mess?" is a perfectly suited line to describe the book, tying the entire cover together.
During the course of the book some of the characters grew on me while others didn't. The main character, Junie, had her enjoyable moments, but for the most part I did not agree with her decisions and how she treated others. She didn't treat her mother very well at all, even considering the situation she had put them in and she didn't think of the consequences her lie had on those around her, specifically Tabitha and her mother. I really enjoyed Tabitha, the best friend character, and her mother for being understanding of what Junie was going through, but at the same time trying to get her to do the right thing no matter how Junie treated them.
The writing was one of the parts of the book I didn't enjoy. Something about it was just not appealing to me, whether it was the unnecessary use of swearing or the way it reflected upon the characters. The way that characters were portrayed just didn't put them in the best of lights, even though they clearly had a lot of potential, and it really showed in some cases, such as the case of Junie. I didn't find Junie to be too like-able, which really didn't aid the plot. In the plot's defense, I did think it was well paced and fairly realistic feeling without ever having too many absolutely unbelievable moments and it had a good ending.
Overall, I truly liked the premise of this book better than the delivered product. If you're looking for a book specifically about hoarding, give this book a try. I give The Opposite of Tidy a 3/5.