Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton is the kind of book that will worm its way into your heart and then tap into all your feels. Nate and Cody were so real and so relatable. Their confusion, fear, and hope really struck chords with me.
I’m a 90s kids but while reading this I felt like I was there, in the 80s, experiencing the AIDs hysteria, the fear of being different, and the changing culture. Marie completely immersed me in it.
She also did a good job of making Cody and Nate’s fears about AIDs my fears. It put this young, vulnerable, and personable face to a generation of gay men that grew up not understanding why this disease was “targeting” and killing them.
But this book isn’t just about that.
It’s an examination of poverty, class warfare, coming of age, grief, and so much more. At it’s core, though, it’s about two young men learning how far they are willing to go for someone they love when the world is trying to tear them apart.
Cody, who has had nothing but shit brought down on him since the day he was born, was still so sweet and caring. Yet also afraid. Afraid to hope for a better life and that was so incredibly sad to read.
I loved the growth of both characters, but especially Nate. He starts out an angry kid but his development over the course of the book turns him into this amazing and compassionate man.
Trailer Trash is a YA so the sexual content isn’t frequent or too graphic. I would be comfortable giving this to a teenager to read (with the hope that they not only enjoy it but that it may open a dialogue about STDs/safe sex/bullying/etc.).
I really, really liked this book. The ending felt a bit rushed but at the same time I liked that things were left a bit open and hopeful. A tough but worthwhile read.
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.