A debut YA novel by whiz kid Teddy Steinkellner, Trash Can Days is an authentic slice of life as told by Jake Schwartz, whose trepidation facing middle school is well-founded; his older sister, Hannah, dominating, cool and definitely part of the in crowd; his best friend, Danny, who has grown up over the summer — and has definitely outgrown Jake; and Dorothy Wu, the ultimate outsider of whom parents like to say “she’ll be great in college…but boy will she suffer in middle school.”
The twist (of many) is that Danny’s parents work for Jake’s — Jake’s dad is a movie director and Danny’s live on their property, taking care of the family. In their new, larger school, Danny wants to move on and be with his cousins and their friends from the ‘hood (some of whom are real, vs. wanna-be, gangsters); Hannah starts a blog that backfires; Dorothy Wu discovers that she really can be cool, and through it all Jake, whose novel this really is, finds a bit of redemption among the pain (physical, emotional, spiritual) of middle school.
This is a funny novel, but manages to be true and surprising and gut-wrenching as well.
Kid obsessions and adult concerns merge—just like in middle school!—and it’s a book that (don’t tell the kids) makes you think.
Editor’s Note: Lead picture (top right) and the following pictures sourced from TeddySteinkellner.com from an author’s event at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose.
Find more at TeddySteinkellner.com.
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