Trash Can Days: A Middle School Sagaby Teddy Steinkellner
Jake Schwartz is not looking forward to middle school. Having his older sister Hannah there is no consolation. The only saving grace is that Danny Uribe, his lifelong best friend, will be by his side. Or will he? The two barely have any classes together, and since Danny's summer growth spurt, there's been a growing distance between them. Meanwhile, Hannah has her own… See more details below
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Jake Schwartz is not looking forward to middle school. Having his older sister Hannah there is no consolation. The only saving grace is that Danny Uribe, his lifelong best friend, will be by his side. Or will he? The two barely have any classes together, and since Danny's summer growth spurt, there's been a growing distance between them. Meanwhile, Hannah has her own problems -- being Queen Bee is not easy. The other girls are out for blood, and boys are so...exhausting. Danny surprises her with his maturity (and kissing skills), but she knows Jake would be devastated if he knew about their relationship. Dorothy Wu couldn't care less about school politics. But when she joins the writing club, she meets a young lad with heroic potential. In the course of a year at San Paulo Junior High, these four lives will intersect in unique and hilarious ways. Friendships will grow and change. Reputations will transform. And maybe one of them will become a man.
Gr 7–9—At the beginning of seventh grade, best friends Jake and Danny are growing apart. At first the changes are common enough: Danny hits puberty before Jake and starts to look older, and entering junior high school means making new friends. But the rift becomes deeper as Danny begins to associate with members of a local gang and distances himself from Jake, who, as he puts it, is "about as far away from gangster as you can get, since he's white and nerdy and emotional and stuff." As Danny gets sucked into gang culture, he also begins a secret relationship with Jake's popular sister, Hannah, and eventually the two worlds cannot help but touch, with dramatic consequences. Chapters narrated by different characters, as well as interspersed status updates and online chats, may appeal to reluctant readers. At times funny and superficial, at times serious, the story is about friendship, family, and how the choices kids make can affect who they become. The pacing is steady, the tone is mostly light despite some serious content, and there is occasional vulgar language.—Emma Burkhart, Springside School, Philadelphia, PA
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Take four Middle School kids, each unique, yet tied to each other as their lives are chronicled throughout the school year, thanks to one brilliant teacher! The assignment? Write something every day about your life so “future you” may look back on it. What the reader ends up with is an endearing tale of the lives of Jake Schwartz, his older sister Hannah, his best friend, Danny Uribe and Dorothy Wu, who admits to a crush on Jake. Who would think seventh and eighth grades could be so pivotal in the lives of these four? You’ll laugh, cry, worry, and let out a sigh of relief as each story unfolds, told in their unique styles. What was important to you in Middle School? Did you face being an outcast? Did you suddenly go from being an obscure blip on the radar of life to a hot commodity? Was your reputation on the line? Did you try almost anything to feel accepted, noticed or relevant to life? Did you risk longtime friendships in the name of popularity or carving out a name for yourself? Was there a life altering moment, good or bad that has stayed with you? If you’ve said yes to any of the above, you WILL identify with and learn to love these kids as they navigate the shark infested waters of that dangerous time between being a “child” and being almost an adult, or at least almost a YOUNG adult. Trash Can Days by Teddy Steinkellner is brilliant in its concept, execution and delivery! Teddy Steinkellner has a talent for writing that brings his characters to life and endears them to your heart. I was stunned to find that this is Mr. Steinkellner’s DEBUT novel, and then double-stunned to find that he is a Young Adult! If this first time out is any indication of what we can expect from him in the future, all readers, regardless of age have a LOT to look forward to! An ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion in exchange for my honest review.
A Brilliant Debut! For this mom, educator and former 7th-grader who remembers the hilarity, heartache and shock of that particular year all-to-well, TRASH CAN DAYS hits the bullseye. Boys, girls, tweens living it, teens who just lived through it and adults brave enough to go back there - will relish this remarkable first novel about four diverse young narrators feeling their way through friendship, relationships and dawning social awareness. Told in keenly authentic 1st-person accounts, texts, chats, fan-fiction and other creative writings, this year-in-the-life will make you laugh hard, cry hard and feel how hard it is to be 13 and have no idea what the next page of your life will bring. Publishers Weekly calls it "funny, crass, painful and optimistic". It's all that and more.