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TRASH by Sharon Darrow


by Sharon Darrow

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-2624-4
Publisher: Candlewick

When their mother abandons Sissy (16) and her younger brother, Boy, their older sister, Raynell, and her husband, Jobe, care for them. But when Jobe loses his job, the kids must find another place. They live with a series of odd but often caring people, ending up with the Fowlers, who run a trash collection service. Sissy and Boy smell bad and are ostracized by the other kids in school. Eventually, they are abused by the Fowlers. They contact Raynell, who now lives in St. Louis, and the two hitchhike their way to her. Finally, the siblings feel at home and proceed to reinvent themselves. They meet up with “taggers,” kids who graffiti their names with spray paint throughout the urban landscape. They rename themselves and calculate their risk as they go out at night to emblazon public spaces with their new artistically rendered identities. Their comfort doesn’t last long when tragedy strikes, and Sissy is on her own again. Told as a narrative in poems and set mostly in the south, the story provides a window into the challenges and dreams of homeless or near homeless teens. The language, though rich, evocative and rhythmic, is bleak, with only glimpses of salvation and light. (Fiction. YA)