YOUNG ADULT CONTEMPORARY
As sixteen-year-old Richard Frame grew, so did his mother’s hoarding. Living in their dumpster house batters his self-esteem, but he finds escape through writing, art, and his only friend, Jill. Socially adept and bright as sunshine, she’s way too good for Richard, even if he hides the truth about his ill mother, absent father, and older brother who got out of dodge years ago. Desperate to keep Jill after she starts pulling away, Richard cleans up his act: he buys new clothes, quits eating his feelings, and moves into his car so he won’t reek of his house anymore.
But Jill’s too busy falling for popular senior Luca Birch to notice, and Richard’s fear of losing her quickly morphs into fear for her safety. Only Richard knows about the monster beneath Luca’s charm and charisma. Two years ago, he found himself in Luca’s car and now they share a crime…and a horrible secret. Too bad Richard can’t warn Jill about Luca without sounding like a jealous loser. And if he finally tells the truth, Luca might kill him.
Yet Richard refuses to be like his mother, a woman who has built walls of trash to protect herself from the world. As the ghost from that tragic night continues to hang around, Richard wrestles with his conscience—and realizes just how much bravery lies in the heart of the boy from the hoarder’s house.