Author: Andy Mulligan
Release date: 2nd September 2010 UK
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Target audience: 10+
Summary from Amazon:
Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days wading through mountains of steaming trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it. Then one unlucky-lucky day, Raphael's world turns upside down. A small leather bag falls into his hands. It's a bag of clues. It's a bag of hope. It's a bag that will change everything. Soon Raphael and his friends Gardo and Rat are running for their lives. Wanted by the police, it takes all their quick-thinking, fast-talking to stay ahead. As the net tightens, they uncover a dead man's mission to put right a terrible wrong. It's three street-boys against the world...
Trash is an empowering story which takes you on a journey of courage, friendship and a quest for the truth. At the heart of the story are three boys: Raphael, Gardo and Rat. They live on a dumpsite in Behala. They make their living picking through rubbish and finding odds and ends to sell. They work among human faeces and when you read this and know that there are children in the world living in just this way, your heart wants to fracture into a million pieces. What’s amazing is that they don’t resent this way of life, it just is.
The story begins with Raphael and Gardo picking through the rubbish like any other day. But this day is different because Raphael finds a plastic bag and inside there are some intriguing items and some money. Raphael squirrels away his find and later he and Gardo cannot believe their luck. They are best friends and they share the money.
Unfortunately, the police soon arrive and begin asking questions on the dumpsite. They offer money to the residents to give up the bag. Raphael and Gardo realise that there is more to this particular piece of unwanted trash than they first thought and their instincts tell them to keep silent about their find. The story then unfolds into a thriller where three boys take on the police and try to get to the heart of the mystery behind the person who threw away the bag.
All three boys are such great characters. Gardo is the serious one. The planner, the thinker and in my mind, he was the leader. Raphael is the one who is easily excitable, fun and immensely loyal. Rat is the spontaneous genius with a natural instinct for survival. I felt that he was the most optimistic of the boys too. As you read the story, you become attached to all of them.
Trash isn’t your average crime thriller. The way it is told is really unusual. The story is passed like a relay baton from character to character as they each tell their part of the journey. You don’t lose the flow or the feel of the narrative though as you keep returning to the voices of the three boys. Trash is such a heartfelt and poignant book to read. It makes you think about injustice and poverty. It makes you realise how different your own life is to so many other peoples all across the world. But above all, it is a gripping mystery which keeps you guessing until the very end.
Thank you to Random House Children's Books for sending me the book to review.