20 August 2013

{Book Review} Trash Can Days

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Trash Can Days
Author: Teddy Stienkellner
Pages: 352
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Rating: 5 Birds

Jake Schwartz is not looking forward to middle school. Puberty feels light-years away; he’s not keen on the cool clothes or lingo; and he has the added pressure of preparing for his bar mitzvah. The only saving grace is that Danny Uribe, his lifelong best friend, will be by his side…
Or will he? Since Danny’s summer growth spurt, there’s been a growing distance between him and Jake. Danny is excited to explore all that junior high has to offer…especially the girls (and most notably Hannah, Jake’s older sister). But gang life has its allure, too, and he soon finds himself in over his head.
Meanwhile, Hannah is dealing with her own problems–being queen bee is not easy. The other girls are out for blood, and boys are so…exhausting. Danny surprises her with his maturity, but can Hannah’s reputation survive if she’s linked to a sevvy? And what would Jake think about her hooking up with his best friend?
Dorothy Wu could not care less about junior-high drama. She is content to stay in her bedroom and write epic stories of her adventures as a warrior mermaid maiden. But that changes when she discovers the school’s writing club. There, she meets a young lad with heroic potential and decides that life outside her fantasy world just might have some appeal.
In the course of one year at San Paulo Junior High, these four lives will intersect in unique and hilarious ways. Friendships will grow and change. Reputations will be transformed. And maybe someone will become a man.

I am not the biggest fan on Middle Grade books, I'm just going to be 100% honest with you. In fact, I don't recall one that I have read that I have really enjoyed and been able to connect with. To be able to put Middle Grade aged me in it and really go 'Yes! This!"

That is, until now.

Trash Can Days blew me away. Written in 4 alternating POVs so you can experience the world of San Paulo Junior High through the eyes of all the key players. Teddy Stinekellner latches on to a raw, honest and never once sugar coated coming of age story that, for better or worse - is there. Sometimes we look at Junior High and think, "Oh those sweet innocent kids" but do we ever stop to look back and remember what we were thinking about back then. What we were even doing back then? Maybe it's the desire that they remain innocent that clouds our judgment and blocks us from being able to accept they are actually the very opposite of innocent and sheltered most of the time. 

Trash Can Days will intrigue and entertain you. It will remind you of the horribly painful embarrassing moments of Junior High. It will replay for you the fantastic and stomach fluttering moments, even if maybe they only happened in your imagination. And it will walk you into the dark and scary moments, leave you there and walk away while you make life changing decisions far greater than “Homework or video games”.

Set in San Paulo California, Trash Can Days has a little bit of everything California has to offer. The things you might be expecting, like the rich and the famous. And the things maybe you wouldn't - like the gangs.

Before you scoff and turn your nose up thinking "Pssh, GANGS! in a middle grade book?" let me make one thing perfectly clear. If you don't think gangs (of which there are many different varieties) are parts of this world, this country, even possibly your state, or city, then you my friend are living in giant bubble that needs to be popped. Allow me to show you my sharp, pointy needle….

Steinkellner holds nothing back in his debut novel. His honesty and almost painful reminders of the friendships, relationships and day to day life as a 7th grader and the reminder about how they can be strong and beautiful one day and crumble to pieces the next shot me right back. He easily writes as 4 totally different people, capturing them perfectly and all their little quirks. He also reminds us that no matter how different we are, or where we come from, inside we all feel the same things.

I can not wait to see what the future holds by way of more novels from Steinkellner. And Trash Can Days will be added to my list of most beloved books for their honesty and creativity. Well done my man. Well Done.

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5birdnew 

amber1

2 comments:

  1. Trash Can Days sounds so honest, and a beautiful rendition of junior high. Middle grade is usually a touchy subject for me, too, but I think I need to check this one out soon because I'm still in junior high and this one sounds like a perfect read for that :)

    Fantastic review, Amber! <33

    ReplyDelete
  2. I must say I was quite intrigued to read this after reading your review. Thanks!

    -http://trashcansunlimited.com/

    ReplyDelete

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