In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city.
One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.
Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty—and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel.
Fourteen-year-old "dumpsite boy" Raphael has never found anything valuable in the trash mounds he has combed over since age three. At least not until he unearths a leather bag containing a map, wallet, and key. Keeping his discovery secret from the police, who quickly come looking for the bag, Raphael goes in search of the key's locker, with two friends in tow. Soon they are in the middle of a suspenseful mission involving a secret code, a corrupt politician, and a search for six million stolen dollars. The three authentic boys at the heart of this well-constructed debut novel sweet Raphael, serious Gardo, and spirited Rat take turns narrating most of their story (though other voices are also heard); in distinct voices, they provide harrowing details about their lives in the dump. This gripping book engages readers both as an adventure and as a social justice story; clues suggest that it's set in a Third World Latin American country. The story wraps a bit neatly, but readers will be satisfied by the cinematic conclusion and the noble decision the heroes make. Ages 12 up.