Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: The Opposite of Tidy by Carrie Mac

Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 288
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5


Fifteen-year-old Junie has a very unique problem; her mother is a hoarder, her father ran off with their life coach, and Junie is very much the parent in this situation. Her mother hasn’t left her chair in many days, and Junie has been secretly counting the days since her mother last showered. Junie’s best friend Tabitha is aware of the situation, but Junie hasn’t told her how bad the hoarding has gotten in recent months. When Tabitha realizes what Junie has been living with, she threatens to tell her mother, who is a lawyer, and will without a doubt call a social worker. When a boy offers Junie a ride home, she strategically guides him to Tabitha’s house, since her parents are arguing on the front lawn and an unknowing Wade begins laughing at the situation. Junie’s lies begin to pile up, she’s trying to help her mother, trying to get their life in order, and she doesn’t want to lose Wade. At the same time, she’s a teenager and failing math. Junie’s cover is blown when her mother applies to a talk show, and a film crew shows up wanting to help.


The Opposite of Tidy deals with a very real problem. Junie’s home life is sad and frustrating. Her mother wants what’s best for Junie, but she isn’t able to give it to her. This book portrays very real emotions. Everyone involved has a unique reaction, some people were unaware, some ignored the situation, and some disgusted. Junie is literally living with rats and vermin, and she has no idea what to do. She’s hopeless, and afraid that she will be taken away from her mother. She just wants her mother to get better, and she can’t imagine leaving her mother behind. Her father mentions her coming to live with him, but he doesn’t put up much a fight, he checked out emotionally, years ago and his parenting stopped as well. Junie can’t forgive her father for giving up, and leaving her behind.

I really enjoy contemporary young adult novels, and this one will remain with me for a long time. I really felt everyone’s emotions, and guilt. This type of situation is not black and white, and Junie’s reaction is very realistic. She’s stuck between the guilt her mother gives her and knowing that she needs to get something done. She knows her mother is sick, but when will it change? I highly recommend this one.

I do want to mention, that I really dislike the cover! It doesn’t do the book justice. I didn’t know what to think about this book, until I read the synopsis on the back.


  1. I would have dismissed the book because of its cover so I'm glad I read your review. This is the kind of YA I like.

  2. I agree, the cover is awful but the book sounds good!

  3. Hoarders intrigue me, and the families of the hoarders even more. They're better than me because I'd probably just go in there and start throwing crap away.

    But I know there is so much more to it than what I perceive. This is an interesting storyline for a book.

  4. This sounds so interesting to me, and reminds me of a book that I recently read about a hoarder. I always worry that I will end up like that because I have so many books, but the reality of the situation is not that dire. I would love to read this one sometime, and see what emotions it draws out of me. Fantastic review today. It was a very intriguing read.

  5. Hi Jennifer,

    That cover may be pretty awful, but if it catches the eye long enough for you to pick up the book and start reading, then I guess it has done its job!

    I have to admit that I consider myself to be something of a hoarder over things like books and knitting wool, but it is nothing compared to the addictive illness which some people have

    Here in the UK, we have recently aired a series of television programmes, which deals with just the issue which Junie is facing;


    It is the same issue which faces many child carers in this country (and there are literally thousands of them). If they ask for help then the authorities will step in and separate them from their sick parents, so they just struggle on alone.

    It really is just a reflection on modern society I guess, just not a very good one.

    I may give this book a try, thanks for the recommendation.


  6. You're right about the cover. It almost comes across as a light chick lit. This is a book I would read. Thanks for the review!

  7. Arghh, internet stole my comment, sighs.

    Ok so..great review and I wanna read the book :)

  8. This sounds unique and while I am not a huge fan of contemporary and have only read one YA in this genre the topic intrigues me. I feel sorry for the main character already! You are right the cover is awful!