Name: Joni Pope
Twitter Handle: LittleJoni00
Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 41K
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession is:
Bailey is obsessed with doing all she can to make sure no one finds out her mother is a hoarder. Her father already blames her for not being able to control her mother, she doesn’t want any of her friends to get similar ideas. In addition, Bailey is also somewhat obsessed with making sure she doesn’t become a hoarder by doing the best she can to keep her room in perfect order.
No one can ever know what goes on inside Bailey’s house.
Her mom’s hoarding already drove her father away. The rest of Bailey’s sixth-grade classmates worry about things like the stupid dance lessons they have to take during P.E., but her biggest fear, besides total embarrassment if her friends found out, is being trapped in her mom’s mess.
It’s not all bad. Bailey’s mom brings her thrift store and garage sale clothes three times a week, which Bailey can upcycle into anything, so her wardrobe rocks. Still, this doesn’t make up for the stacks of boxes and piles of newspapers everywhere, or the disaster of a kitchen where Bailey and her mom have to eat standing up and drink out of paper cups. When the clutter creeps into Bailey’s one sanctuary, her bedroom, she begins to grasp she’s up against something beyond her ability to stop.
Only hanging out with David, the quiet and geeky new kid, makes Bailey’s home life bearable. But she fears David will drop her like a rock if he finds out what the inside of her house is like. Worse yet is realizing the danger if her mom can’t tame the disordered chaos. It could cost Bailey her home.
Mom pounds on the bedroom door. I jump, breaking my concentration on the t-shirt sliding through the sewing machine. Luckily, I don’t snag it.
“Bailey!” She opens the door and pokes her head in. “Breakfast now or you’ll be late for school.”
I take the t-shirt from the machine and inspect the lace I added to the neckline.
Mom’s face brightens. “Is that a shirt I brought home for you from the Salvation Army?”
I nod, clipping the stray threads and turning off the sewing machine.
“I love what you’ve done with it. But it’s time to get going.”
She closes the door and I strip off my pajamas before pulling on the t-shirt, along with a pair of jeans and some scruffy sneakers. I yank my hair into a ponytail and grab my backpack. The open drapes let the morning sun into my room. My bed is made, my walls are clean, and the floors are neat. Not one clothing item is visible; everything is folded and put away in the dresser or closet where it should be.
Then I open the door.
With my backpack by my side I squeeze into the cramped hallway. Boxes, plastic bins, and stacks of magazines loom over me in the dark. I hold my breath as I maneuver towards the kitchen. It’s not the first time I’ve been afraid of the whole thing crashing in on me. And that’s not the only danger. If her precious piles fall, Mom will freak out.