book review: trash

Andy Mulligan’s Trash is a YA book about three scavenger kids living in a junkyard who find something extremely valuable in the trash that launches a big, but personal mystery. I liked it a lot.

It had shifting viewpoint characters who were expressly telling the reader the story. Usually it stuck with the main three boys, but we also got to see bits of the story from the priest’s perspective and that of the British girl who was volunteering in the unnamed country (while reading I was picturing Mexico, but the afterword indicates it was based on a place in Manila).

Things I really liked about the book: the boys were clever and tough, but didn’t feel superhuman. The authorities also weren’t stupid, which made the boys’ victories against the police well-earned. It was a connect-the-dots kind of mystery plot, but my favourite part of that was a throwaway line about how they never did manage to decipher part of the code. The whole thing felt much more personal than a story about government corruption had any real right to be, so kudos to Mulligan.

The only thing that I wish it had was a stronger female character. The women in the story either get duped or get rescued or get the boys into the whole mess, which is a bit of a shame.

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