Author: Mulligan, Andy
Raphael and Gardeo, both 14, with a younger boy, Rat, investigate the origins of a bag Raphael finds when sorting through trash in a third-world country's dump.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 140092
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 51242
Common Core Standards
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
School Library Journal (+) (10/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (11/10)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2010 Gr 7–10—Three young teens, trash-picker living in the city dump of an unnamed third-world country, discover a mysterious bag one morning, triggering a chain of events that will change their lives forever. Raphael, Gordo, and Rat take turns nar-rating the story of how they uncover a network of political corruption and abuse of the poor. Each puzzle the boys solve leads to yet a new riddle for them to work out. The chase leads them throughout the city, exposing the great disparity be-tween the "haves" and the "have nots," and the huge injustice this represents. Several run-ins with the police make it clear that getting caught means death for the three boys. They face moral dilemmas throughout and, ultimately, make good deci-sions. Their intelligence and characters make the condition in which they live seem even more unfair. While on the surface the book reads like a fast-paced adventure title, it also makes a larger statement about the horrors of poverty and injustice in the world. Occasionally the alternating viewpoints of the book become confusing, particularly when they switch mid-chapter. In spite of this, Trash is a compelling read. The action is riveting and the secret codes throughout will appeal mys-tery fans. Readers will be drawn to this title, and hopefully learn a little about the world outside their own country. Teens who enjoyed the film Slumdog Millionaire (2008) will find much to enjoy here.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2010 In an unnamed Third World city, Rat, Raphael, and Gardo live with thousands of other kids like them in a garbage dump, where they dig through the detritus looking for anything that could be profitable. When an important person loses something valuable in the refuse, the three boys embark on an engrossing, sobering mystery characterized by stealing, lying, and police brutality as well as generosity, trust, and ingenuity. Multiple characters describe the adventure, and although the switch between narrators may initially seem disorienting (a priest, housemother, and tombstone maker also provide their integral perspectives), the story flows more smoothly as it progresses, bolstered by the young characters’ well-articulated, authentic thoughts, feelings, and voices. Throughout, the boys’ significant sense of devotion and morality leads them from lives of desperation to miraculous possibilities. The culminating scenes contribute important elements of Day of the Dead celebrations and Robin Hood themes, further increasing the novel’s usefulness for discussion and study. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 11/01/2010 It all begins with an unusual find, a bag containing a letter, a key, and what is already a significant amount of money for Raphael, Gardo, and Rat, who make a meager living picking things of small value out of an ever-increasing dump. The items lead them to a staggering sum, however, and a mystery involving corruption, greed, and a scandal, that, if revealed, will impact even the highest government officials. All the trio has to do is remain alive, solve the clues that will expose the evil and lead the kids to the money, and escape the trash heap forever. The scrappy defiance of these three boys who cling to hope and dream of better lives in this dystopic near-future even as they are threatened, humiliated, and silenced is powerful, and it is a strong emotional point on which to hinge the novel. Unfortunately, the willingness of the boys to put other lives at risk so that they can pursue their goals is disconcerting, making it more difficult for readers to root for them. In addition, the storytelling device of having different characters narrate different chapters becomes more distracting than effective in giving the whole picture. Nevertheless, this dark, painful novel explores poverty and the extremes to which it drives individuals in an unflinching way, and these details will linger with readers even after the plot itself is forgotten. AS - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.