Title: Trailer Trash
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 340 Pages
At a Glance: Not gonna lie, this story was nowhere near the upbeat end of the spectrum, but it was very real and definitely a worthy read.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: 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.
Review: Recently on social media, Marie Sexton has touted her latest novel, Trailer Trash as the “angstiest book she’s ever written.” After reading her Davlova series, written under A.M. Sexton, this statement TERRIFIED me! Release is, without a doubt, one of the top five most angst-filled books I’ve ever read. So, using that as my barometer, I would have to respectfully disagree with her statement. 😉 Trailer Trash is heavy; there is NO question about that. Though, to me, it was more a permeating sadness.
Nate meets Cody Lawrence very quickly after moving to the tiny town of Warren, Wyoming, with his father. Things in the town are bleak. There are no jobs. Most of the people who were living in the more affluent part of town, where Nate and his dad live, have moved away. And, the town has next to nothing to offer in the way of recreation. At least not healthy recreation. But, Cody is the one bright spot in Nate’s world; the two boys play cards, talk, take drives in Nate’s Mustang, and form a solid friendship over the final weeks of the summer.
The connection they have from the beginning is special. But, just as Cody tried to explain to Nate that they would, things get tough once school starts. The crowd that Nate is expected to hang with instantly tries to pull him in, but he soon discovers that they are not the kind of kids he wants to be spending his time with. None of the groups are, really—not the popular kids or the jocks, not the burnouts, and not the cowboys. The only person he truly wants to hang out with is doing everything he can to avoid Nate so as not to cause him any more social drama. Navigating school politics at that age is tough, even with a great head on your shoulders like Nate has. Add in the emotions and hormones that he is trying to understand, where Cody is concerned? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Things remain strained between the pair until a tragedy rocks everyone’s world—especially Cody’s. Nate is there to hold Cody up, though, and they decide that they want to be together, despite everything that is stacked up against them. I loved this line:
“I missed you like crazy,” Cody finally said. “I’m really glad to have you back.” And the smile Nate gave him was like warm August sunshine on the icy mass of his grief.
There is a lot of ground covered in this story: Coming of age, class divide, the AIDS crisis, broken families, and prejudice; and it’s done very well. At times it felt very much like a more modern day version of The Outsiders—another classic coming-of-age tale dealing with all of the above issues, with the exception of AIDS—complete with a fight in the vacant lot, a tragedy that rocks the town, and a sympathetic, Cherry Valance type character, in Christine Lucero, who sort of bridges the divide between groups.
Sexton nailed the time period, and absolutely nailed the small town vibe and the sort of hopelessness that people in small, impoverished towns often feel. Even though the overall feel of the story is dark, however, there were a few lighter moments. I liked Nate’s dad a lot. He showed good character in the beginning—I melted when he said to Nate, “I wanted you…I fought for you.”—and then again at the end when he proved once and for all that he was in Nate’s corner. There were some very sweet moments between Nate and Cody. I loved the strength they showed when they were planning and fighting for their future—they were determined to not let Warren beat them. And, the end was charming. Not gonna lie, this story was nowhere near the upbeat end of the spectrum, but it was very real and definitely a worthy read.
You can buy Trailer Trash here: