Two teen siblings run from foster life — and find new expression as graffiti artists — in a stark but hopeful poetic novel.
For sixteen-year-old Sissy and her brother Boy, trash is a reminder of one too many sorry foster placements they've endured, a way of life they can't wait to escape. Now on the run in search of their big sister Raynell, ironically they are forced to rely on their trash-picking skills for sustenance and shelter. Reunited at last with Raynell in St. Louis, Boy and Sissy shed their old identities, reinvent themselves as graffiti artists, and splash their new names on city bridges and walls. But one night's expedition goes horribly wrong, and Sissy looks again to trash, this time as the beginning of something artful and beautiful.
Sharon Darrow is the author of THE PAINTERS OF LEXIEVILLE and THROUGH THE TEMPESTS DARK AND WILD: A STORY OF MARY SHELLEY, CREATOR OF FRANKENSTEIN, illustrated by Angela Barrett. Sharon Darrow lives in Plainfield, Vermont.
TRASH is a verse novel that continues the story of Boy and Sissy Lexie, first introduced in Sharon Darrow's novel THE PAINTERS OF LEXIEVILLE. It's certainly not necessary to have read that first book (I haven't)--but I'm planning on it now that I've read this one. The best part of this book, I think, is the characters, and I'd love to read more about them.
Sure, the story is interesting, too: Boy and Sissy are teenagers now. They've been shipped around to various foster homes in a way that makes them feel like trash, especially since their mother discarded them like it. Now they're living with the town trash collectors, a placement that seems especially fit using that comparison. It'll never be home.
Boy says that home is where their big sister Raynell is, and Sissy thinks it's the truth. So what do they do? They run away and go to find her. They think she's in Little Rock, but it turns out that she moved to St. Louis and their foster parents didn't deliver the message. They don't know how to find her, so they start saving their money, and when they have enough, they go to St. Louis and search her out.
In St. Louis, they have a family with Raynell, her husband, Jobe, and their baby, Kylie. They also have new friends: Dolores and Tyrone. The four of them run around the city at night, climbing, jumping, and painting. They take new names with which to sign their graffiti: Boy and Sissy, who have always wanted real names, are now Atenz and Skye.
And then something unthinkable happens. Something terrible: Boy doesn't look where he's jumping, and in that split second of not looking, things change forever. Sissy's life will never, ever be the same.
Both the story and characters in TRASH are interesting. This is a story well worth reading.