Wednesday, 15 June 2011



By Andy Mulligan


On the Behala dump site, 14 year old Raphael Fernández is living with his aunt and cousins in a little torn-apart garage. Since the day that Raphael could walk he was forced to work all day picking up trash. Everyone in Behala works from the break of dawn until sunset. At the end of the day, if you find something valuable like a tire or a scrap of plastic, you hand it in to the head of the dump site and you get a few pesos (money) in return. If you don't find anything valuable then you walk back to your 'house' empty-handed. Raphael finds the rare bits and pieces of plastic and has enough money to survive, although he needs more. He wants to leave the dump site with his best friends Gardo and Rat and live in a rich neighborhood, but for him, that is still just a dream.

One day when Raphael and Gardo are out in the middle of the dump site, they find a leather bag. The boys know how many pesos they can get for the bag alone and are proud of themselves but they don't know what the bag contains.

When Raphael is alone he opens the bag and inside he finds a wallet containing 1100 pesos, an ID, some photos, some newspaper clippings and a key. He thinks that maybe with everything that the bag contains he could live in a rich neighborhood with all of the money that he has found. He can't wait to leave the Behala dump site with Gardo and Rat. They could start living a new life as rich people!

Raphael is very happy that he and Gardo found the bag ... until the next day police show up offering 1100 pesos for the lost bag and wallet if it is found. What will Raphael do?

I was surprised when my mum came home from WHSmith Paris and handed me Trash. I was surprised because my mom knows the type of books that I like to read and Trash (judging from the summary) is not historical or romantic. It is a book about adventure and survival. I like reading books about adventures but I have never read a book with an adventure like Trash.  Also I have never read a book with a boy as a main character and have never had a boy's view on a story.  But in the end I got attached to reading about a boy. It was a change from my normal, romantic, 'girl adventure' books. I would definitly read another book with another central male character because it was interesting to see how boys' views are sometimes different and they choose different ways to solve problems.

Trash was an interesting book to read because Raphael's story is not like any other story I have read. In a lot of books the main character has a sufficient amount of money to live a nice life. But Raphael is poor and we learn about how he survives and gets enough to eat. At the same time there is an adventure and mystery going on in Raphael's life as well. It is very common to find only adventure and mystery in books but I really enjoyed the survival side of Raphael's story. I think that a lot of people who have read Trash might really think about how lucky some people (even they) are.

In the book, we don't know where the story takes place but we do know that the money used by Raphael and his friends is pesos. At first I thought that the story took place in Mexico because of the currency (pesos) but then my dad reminded me that pesos are used in a lot of countries. I think that it is good that the author (Andy Mulligan) does not tell us where the story takes place, because it makes us realize that that there are a lot of people in the world who come from the same background as Raphael. Also it shows us that the story could take place any where in the world.

I did not think that I would enjoy Trash but in the end I did. My thanks go out to the author, Andy Mulligan for writing the an amazing story and for blending an education in it.

I would recommend this book to any tween.

211 pages


  1. You changed your blog again! I really like it. What a great review?!? I really want to know what happened to the bag. What was the key for? I'm dying to know!

    Are you finished school yet? How many books do you think that you will read this summer?

  2. Great review--I *have* to read this!

  3. I've read Trash, and I agree with the review. It's a great read, not at all what is normally given to kids. I think anyone would really enjoy and learn from Trash -- kids or adults. It's surprising, then it seems quite normal, to see that even kids struggling to stay alive have friendships and hopes and worries just like kids everywhere.

  4. My school libarian read my whole class it and me and my whole class thought it was very good

  5. Dear Anonymous Readers (Both),

    I agree that anyone (adult or kid) could learn from 'Trash'. It has so many life lessons hidden inside it.

    I'm so happy that your school librarian choose to read 'Trash' to you and that you got a chance to hear the story. Hopefully, when your librarian read the book to you, you weren't so focused on reading that you got to enjoy the story.

    Happy reading to both Anonymous readers!


  6. personally i did not like this book it was quite boring