Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

Trailer TrashRate: 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication day: March 21, 2016
Length:  340 pages
Publisher: Riptide

It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

Heartbreaking, but beautiful.

My View: Trailer Trash isn’t an easy read. It’s filled with information, character development, setting & placement, and so much more. The author did an excellent job making a story set in the eighties relevant, bringing a growing relationship to the forefront during the AIDS epidemic.

I’m not a YA reader, but Nate and Cody captivated me from the very beginning. I got invested in them, their town, and their hopes. I felt their pain and wished with them for a brighter future.

They didn’t live in a bubble. They were part of a family, a school, a community. We get to see every aspect of their journey, and the story never felt too long or philosophical. The little insides about the gay community in the United States were enough to make the reader aware of the difficult views people had during that time.

The story is heartbreaking. The amount of despair and grief increases with every page, but behind everything, there’s a story of young love and possibilities. The journey in this story is as important as the ending. All the characters involved had a purpose and further the plot.

I can lower the rating if I look into particular parts of the story, but the overall is strong enough to allow for flexibility. The story isn’t perfect, but it’s a delight to read, even the sad parts. In the end, there’s hope.

What I liked the most: How much Nate and Cody trusted each other, even when they were apart.

I wanted more of: A future. I was hoping for an epilogue thirty years later.

Who should read it: Readers looking for a well-developed story with a great setting and sense of time & place.

ARC courtesy of Riptide, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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