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One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and ...
One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.
Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty—and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be--well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)
“Trash is a compelling read. The action is riveting and the secret codes throughout will appeal mystery fans” - School Library Journal, starred review
“This gripping book engages readers both as an adventure and as a social justice story. Readers will be satisfied by the cinematic conclusion and the noble decision the heroes make.” - Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The three boys, and others, act as alternating narrators of the story, giving vivid descriptions of their lives. In spite of this, the boys’ hope and determination for justice and the dilemmas they face with so much courage will impress readers. Recommended." - Library Media Connection
From the Hardcover edition.
My name is Raphael Fernandez and I am a dumpsite boy.
People say to me, 'I guess you just never know what you'll find, sifting through rubbish! Today could be your lucky day.' I say to them, 'Friend, I think I know what I find.' And I know what everyone finds, because I know what we've been finding for all the years I've been working, which is eleven years. It's the one word: stuppa, which means--and I'm sorry if I offend--it's our word for human muck. I don't want to upset anyone, that's not my business here. But there's a lot of things hard to come by in our sweet city, and one of the things too many people don't have is toilets and running water. So when they have to go, they do it where they can. Most of those people live in boxes, and the boxes are stacked up tall and high. So, when you use the toilet, you do it on a piece of paper, and you wrap it up and put it in the trash. The trash bags come together. All over the city, trash bags get loaded onto carts, and from carts onto trucks or even trains--you'd be amazed at how much trash this city makes. Piles and piles of it, and it all ends up here with us. The trucks and trains never stop, and nor do we. Crawl and crawl, and sort and sort.
It's a place they call Behala, and it's rubbish-town. Three years ago it was Smoky Mountain, but Smoky Mountain got so bad they closed it down and shifted us along the road. The piles stack up--and I mean Himalayas: you could climb for ever, and many people do . . . up and down, into the valleys. The mountains go right from the docks to the marshes, one whole long world of steaming trash. I am one of the rubbish boys, picking through the stuff this city throws away.
'But you must find interesting things?' someone said to me. 'Sometimes, no?'
We get visitors, you see. It's mainly foreigners visiting the Mission School, which they set up years ago and just about stays open. I always smile, and I say, 'Sometimes, sir! Sometimes, ma'am!'
What I really mean is, No, never--because what we mainly find is stupp.
'What you got there?' I say to Gardo.
'What d'you think, boy?' says Gardo.
And I know. The interesting parcel that looked like something nice wrapped up? What a surprise! It's stupp, and Gardo's picking his way on, wiping his hands on his shirt and hoping to find something we can sell. All day, sun or rain, over the hills we go.
You want to come see? Well, you can smell Behala long before you see it. It must be about two hundred football pitches big, or maybe a thousand basketball courts--I don't know: it seems to go on for ever. Nor do I know how much of it is stupp, but on a bad day it seems like most of it, and to spend your life wading through it, breathing it, sleeping beside it--well . . . maybe one day you'll find 'something nice'. Oh yes.
Then one day I did.
I was a trash boy since I was old enough to move without help and pick things up. That was what?--three years old, and I was sorting.
Let me tell you what we're looking for.
Plastic, because plastic can be turned into cash, fast--by the kilo. White plastic is best, and that goes in one pile; blue in the next.
Paper, if it's white and clean--that means if we can clean it and dry it. Cardboard also.
Tin cans--anything metal. Glass, if it's a bottle. Cloth or rags of any kind--that means the occasional T-shirt, a pair of pants, a bit of sack that wrapped something up. The kids round here, half the stuff we wear is what we found, but most we pile up, weigh and sell. You should see me, dressed to kill. I wear a pair of hacked-off jeans and a too-big T-shirt that I can roll up onto my head when the sun gets bad. I don't wear shoes--one, because I don't have any, and two, because you need to feel with your feet. The Mission School had a big push on getting us boots, but most of the kids sold them on. The trash is soft, and our feet are hard as hooves.
Rubber is good. Just last week we got a freak delivery of old tyres from somewhere. Snapped up in minutes, they were, the men getting in first and driving us off. A half-good tyre can fetch half a dollar, and a dead tyre holds down the roof of your house. We get the fast food too, and that's a little business in itself. It doesn't come near me and Gardo, it goes down the far end, and about a hundred kids sort out the straws, the cups and the chicken bones. Everything turned, cleaned and bagged up--cycled down to the weighers, weighed and sold. Onto the trucks that take it back to the city, round it goes. On a good day I'll make two hundred pesos. On a bad, maybe fifty? So you live day to day and hope you don't get sick. Your life is the hook you carry, there in your hand, turning the trash.
'What's that you got, Gardo?'
'Stupp. What about you?'
Turn over the paper. 'Stupp.'
I have to say, though: I'm a trash boy with style. I work with Gardo most of the time, and between us we move fast. Some of the little kids and the old people just poke and poke, like everything's got to be turned over--but among the stupp, I can pull out the paper and plastic fast, so I don't do so bad. Gardo's my partner, and we always work together. He looks after me.
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted August 14, 2011
Raphael, Gardo, and Rat are dumpsite boys in an unnamed country, earning money by sifting through the enormous mountains of trash for something worth selling. When a bag containing a large quantity of cash and a key is found by Raphael, the three boys become involved in a mystery which threatens their families, the neighbors in their poor community next to the dump, and their own lives. I listened to an audio version and found the change in voices between the three protagonists and a few minor characters made the story really come alive. It probably helped keep the story straight as the chapters moved between the viewpoints of those characters.
This is a story which needs to be told, as it undoubtedly is the story of children in some parts of the world. Middle school students will relate to the idea of finding something and not telling the police about it. If they don't follow politics (which middle school students do?), they will learn that those in power/government do not always have the people's best interests at heart. If they are compassionate, their hearts will break for the choices these three boys have to make.
I have recommended this book to students in my library and will continue to do so.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2012
Posted July 9, 2011
I had to read this book for school and it really is a book for pre teen boys. The plot is lacking, its barely challanging, it lacks suspense and character development. Theres no underlying meaning, its simply about three dirt poor boys who stumble upon a discarded purse in the trash and cause a whole lot of trouble. If the plot wasnt so predictable and really just not entertaining i might not have hated this assignment as much as i did. Not worth the money.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2013
This book is awesome. I am a twelve year old girl and i have read this book three times. The more you read it the morebyou think avout all the corruption in the world. However it is a good story line and heart warming.
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Posted November 27, 2012
Posted November 23, 2011
Posted January 27, 2014
This is such a graet book my school librarian told me to read it quick because she hadnt read it yet lol. Its a really interesting topic that makes you think. One million times better than the Hunger Games!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2013
Posted June 12, 2013
Posted March 17, 2013
I read this for my All-School Read, and I'm glad I did! The author uses suspense and mystery to form an intriguing plot! With the various points of view of Rapael, Gardo, Rat, Olivia, and others, you can see the whole scope of the book! I highly recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2012
I cant wait to start reading this book ive been reading reviews and some have been good and some hae been bad i am taking my chances and try to read this book ad hope that i llike it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2012
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Posted April 4, 2012
Dear sixteen year old prat you are under the influence of a steryotype. I get all A's so eat that you idiotic sexist
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Posted March 28, 2012
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Posted December 26, 2011