Andy Mulligan

Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days wading through mountains of steaming trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it. Then one unlucky-lucky day, Raphael's world turns upside down. A small leather bag falls into his hands. It's a bag of clues. It's a bag of hope. It's a bag that will change everything. Soon Raphael and his friends Gardo and Rat are running for their lives. Wanted by the police, it takes all their quick thinking and fast talking to stay ahead. As the net tightens, they uncover a dead man's mission to put right a terrible wrong. And now it's three street-boys against the world...

'Headlong and heart-stopping, this is an adventure you just can't put down.' Julia Eccleshare Love Reading

'Outstanding, hotly anticipated exceptionally satisfying plot.' Amanda Craig The Times
Aaron, from St James Catholic High School

Trash is a book about a dumpsite boy called Raphael. He gets involved in a huge commotion with the police because of a simple sentence.


This book has touched me emotionally because not only does it express how dumpsite people have to live, but it also expresses how people are treated in serious situations. I also found the dramatic irony in the book very tense, because when Raphael is taken to prison, he lies to the guards and the readers know it, but the guards don’t. I quite like how Andy Mulligan uses different people’s thoughts and feelings, whilst also telling the story. Moreover, I think it is an excellent idea to have the story written from different points of view, from different people.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I would be more than interested to read follow on books from this author.

Amy, from Copthall School, Barnet

Trash is the most brilliant book ever. It could hold your breath forever and make your dreams come true. Raphael, Gardo and Jun-Jun (Rat) are the troublesome three. Raphael is a smart kid, Gardo is very confident, and Rat a bit smelly because he lives with the rats, a little bit rich and very small. Rat has a small head and a very big brain. As soon as you open this book and read a little bit, it will take your breath away firmly. 

Ben, from University College School London
Trash is about three boys who spend their lives in a dumpsite sifting through rubbish, until that is, they find something; something that the police want; something that the police will kill for. They are now permanently running. But no one can run for ever...


It is an amazing book that grabs your attention instantly. It's the kind of book that once you start reading it you can't put it down. The author really makes you feel like you are there, running, running, running away from the police. But these are not any old police; these police can do whatever they want. They live in a world of corruption with no justice.


The book is set in the outskirts of a massive city, in a dump. There are a few plastic boxes where the people live. The rest is a dump site, with massive mountains of rubbish towering higher than the eye can see, and it is in these towers of rubbish that the main characters spend their lives searching for something of value.


My favourite character is Rat. He is one of those characters that looks so stupid and pathetic that no one looks at him twice but actually he is quite clever and is really helpful to the other characters in the book.


One downside about the book is that the descriptions are not very imaginative. Andy doesn't use very adventurous or interesting language either. For example in chapter 3 it says "The next day Gardo let us go to the station. I told him me and Rat would go alone if he didn't." You can see this is not descriptive because there are no descriptive adjectives it is like this throughout the book.


I would, however, recommend this book to all boys and girls who like an adventurous easy read full of action.

Bethan, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

Trash is about three boys who are trying to find a large sum of money. They have to overcome large obstacles and need the help of lots of people. But, as these two boys work on a dumpsite, these obstacles are gigantic.


There were many different characters in the book but the three main ones are Raphael, Gardo and Rat, all boys around the age of fourteen. They are cunning and intelligent.  Their characters are developed further in the story and they are very, very interesting people.


I loved the way the story was written. The narrator changes throughout the story to show lots of different viewpoints. This works because sometimes that particular narrator will be the only one to have seen what just happened. The story style is so unique.


When I first started to read this book it was a bit slow but by the 5th or 6th chapter it became more and more interesting. The fact that they are determined to find the money really brings a sense of hope to the story. The boys are inspired by a man called Jose Angelico because he stole a large amount of money from a very rich man.  If I was in their situation, so would I.

Chet, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

My review is about Trash written by Andy Mulligan. I am not going to tell you about what I have read, but I am going to tell you about how it made me feel. I found the book interesting, although it did take a while for the story to start. I think the story is a very strange one and quite different to anything else I’ve ever read and I would never have thought of it myself which kept me reading.


I think this book is for a reader who likes stories that are out of the ordinary. There are parts of the story where the writer has created a good feeling of tension. Overall I didn’t really like this book and would rate it 4/10.

Cole, from University College School London
Trash is a novel about two boys named Raphael and Gardo who are best friends; they are dumpsite boys in Belhala. Every day, they rummage through garbage from the city looking for things to sell. Raphael and Gardo are practically brothers. They were born on the same street on the same day of the same year (but Gardo was born two hours earlier). Gardo lives with his uncle while Raphael lives with his grandmother and cousins


One day at the dumpsite Raphael finds a bag with a key in it. Later that day, the police come to Belhala and ask for the very same bag Raphael has picked up. In shock, he doesn't say a word but his grandmother, confused by the situation, reveals that "Raphael found something".


That night they speak to a boy named Rat. Rat is three years younger than Raphael and has no family what so ever. They think that Rat can help them because he has a broad knowledge of the city. He says that the key is for a locker at the train station. The boys are shocked to find themselves dealing with matters they can't handle and need help to solve this mystery.


I thought that the use of dashes instead of brackets in this novel was very interesting. Also, the way the author tells the story from the point of view of different characters is phenomenal. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a compelling adventure story. I would rate this book a definite 10/10 as it pulls you in and is an exciting read.

Conal, from University College School London

Trash is an intriguing novel, which has been written in a way that I have not heard of before. Each chapter is written from the point of view of a different person. This gives it many twists and turns that leave you thirsting for more. I was amazed to find that children really do crawl through trash all their lives and treat some plastic with reverence. The person I liked most in Trash was Father Julliard because he devoted his life to helping people like Raphael, Gardo and Rat...


Senator Zapanta reminded me of the people in Britain that win over people with dazzling smiles but beneath that they are ruthless sinners. People might say that we are too civilized for that to happen; they are wrong. It is the same as saying that humans are superior to animals. We are only different because we have developed complex tools.


All in all, Trash is a great read (exactly what it promises) and is a real breath of fresh air.

Cyara, from Copthall School, Barnet

Trash is a book about a three boys who uncover a dark secret…Really, there’s not much more to say.   Of course, the book had a plot, all published books do, and there was detail, obviously, but I felt that the book was rather lacking in some aspects. I mean, if someone uncovers a deep secret, usually there’s danger, which there was, but there’s also usually either a) a fear factor (you know, the type where the “evil guys” seem to be immortal and have scarred faces, or they are picture-perfect, but behind the lens is a scary shadow); or b) the stupidly-smart hero, where he’d be spotted a mile out of a crowd, and even if he wasn’t, he would just tell you straight off who he is and why he’s here. Or finally, option c) the great little genius, like in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, where they all seem so innocent, but know almost everything. But this book had none of that, it had no fear, no motivation, it’s like semolina pudding, it just doesn’t fit.                                                                                                              


Overall, I found the book rather bland, with no emotion. I mean, it’s a great plot, don’t get the wrong idea, but I think the author could have tried to add a little bit more feeling to the novel. This could be a really heart-warming, teary novel, but instead it was just another narrative, bland novel. It’s a house without cement.

David, from University College School London

The story revolves around the life of Raphael, a fourteen-year-old boy who lives on the ‘Behala dumpsite’, a huge mountainous heap of rubbish from the nearby city. Although this doesn’t exist in real life it is like any other massive landfill - just out of control. Raphael and his friend Gardo, accompanying hundreds of other kids, spend their days scrambling over this landscape of trash in search for items that might make them some cash. They look for pieces of plastic, paper, tin cans, bottles and bits of cloth. But to these boys good trash means cash.


One day Raphael spots a promising bag of trash from one of the rich areas in the city - and within it a small leather bag. It contained a wallet filled with money, a map and a mysterious key. However, it soon becomes obvious to the boys that the bag is more valuable than they think it is when, within hours of finding it, they see the police drive through the gates of Behala. Instead of returning the bag to them Raphael decides to keep his discovery quiet for reasons he himself is not entirely sure of. Soon enough, Raphael and Gardo, joined by another boy called Jun-Jun, nicknamed Rat, find themselves on an exciting and dangerous hunt for the truth behind the key they have found and why it is so precious to the police.


I found it an exciting and interesting read and it is a very well written book. This story is very much about people, and yet at the same time I had a very clear picture of this place in my mind - I 'knew' how it looked and smelt. Andy Mulligan managed this without any lengthy passages that detracted from the plot. Also, I felt that the swapping of narration between different characters with very different personalities made the story feel more real. In conclusion, I recommend this book as it is well worth reading. I would think it is suitable for the 11+ age range.

David, from University College School London

I think that Trash is a great novel. I was a bit bored at first but then they make a vital discovery. It starts off with a wallet, a map and some ID and then results in the police chasing Gardo, Raph and Jun-Jun.


They get into a lot of problems and are always on the run from the police. The most important thing is that they keep the trust between themselves, otherwise their lives could be at risk.


I love the way that Andy Mulligan describes Behala and the dumpsite. I think it is good that the characters alternate telling the story, because if it were only Raphael telling the story, it would be a bit boring. It is also a good way of getting to know each character.


The author describes the scenery with great description. Jun- Jun is my favourite character in this book. He has great ideas and makes spectacular escapes from the police. He makes me laugh when he says ‘OK?' at the end of his sentences. He has great hopes of escaping and going to live in Sampalo on a boat for the rest of his life.


Jose Angelico is a nice man who tries to help the country. It's a shame we don't get to know him better. The letter he writes at the end of the book is really sad. The end is really moving as the money that the greedy vice-president has been keeping for himself and the money that the country has been pleading for in the last three years is thrown into the air.


This is truly a novel to get lost in. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fiction like me.


Elif, from The Mount School

Trash is a great book based on a young dumpsite boy, Raphael, who works night and day trying to find food and a drink to survive on by sifting through giant mounds of rubbish. Every now and then he gets lucky when he finds a couple of coins and maybe a half-eaten burger or something like that.


One day all this changes - Raphael finds a bag, a bag full of freedom and hope, a bag that will change his life, a bag …  In this bag he finds a lot of money, a map, a wallet, and a key.  All seems normal until the police turn up.


On the way, Raphael is helped by his best friend Gordo and a boy called Rat. This little bag puts three boys on a chase to save their lives and on a mission to find the solution to an unanswered mystery. It is written from different points of view; this makes the book more interesting to read. I rate this book 9/10 and I recommend it highly.

Emily, from The Mount School

Andy Mulligan was brought up in South London. For ten years he worked as a theatre director. His travels in Asia then prompted him to teach less fortunate people skills that they did not have.


Andy’s first book was Ribblestrop. It was runner-up for the Roald Dahl funny prize, to follow this came Return to Ribblestrop and then he wrote Trash.


Trash is a very different type of book. Trash is a definite thriller. It tells a story of three dumpsite boys and an amazing thing that they find in the city rubbish. They know they have found something truly special - truly life-changing.  They try to stay one step ahead of the police who are looking for the object that they have found to help as evidence in another case. The novel shifts rapidly from the rubbish dumps of a third-world city, to its prisons and graveyards and many more terrifying things. I really enjoyed Trash as it is from the characters’ point of view and it changes from one character to the next.  It is based on three main characters Raphael, Rat and Gardo. The way Andy has chosen to write it has really given it another edge as you can really capture the feelings and emotions running through the character’s mind. I would rate this 4/5 as it is a really good book but it moves too quickly and soon you find yourself at the end. I would say the age group for this book is between 9-13 as anyone younger would find it hard to understand


I really enjoyed Trash and I know that others will too.


Ethan, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

Trash is a fantastic novel which includes fun, violence and mystery.  The story is set in Mexico on a dumpsite which three kids live on. One of them is Raphael who is the main character who has lived on the dump all his life and is about to make a discovery which will change his life forever.


It took me one month to read the book in total.  I would highly recommend this book to older readers because it includes violence, but it does grab you. The story starts slowly but speeds up nearer the end. I would rate this book 7/10 and list it as one of my favourites for its brilliant plot and mysteriousness.


Overall the book was awesome.  It was written in the third person which I enjoyed.  There was mystery, money, crime, problems and a good plot.  What more could you ask for in a fantastic novel?

Ethan, from University College School London
How would you feel if you had to spend your entire life sifting through a mountain of trash the size of the Himalayas?  Welcome to the lives of Gardo, Raphael and Rat. Spending long days walking over mountains of rubbish and human manure trying to find objects they can sell is an everyday routine for them. Unfortunately for them, they find something of incredible importance. They find a bag with money, a map, a key and several other objects in it. At first they do not realize the importance of the bag but when the police come looking for the bag they realize the seriousness of what they have found. Raphael's aunt tells the police and from that moment they are wanted...


I enjoyed Trash although I thought the writing style was very simple. I like how he included some politics but think that other people may not like it. It is interesting how the story is based around the government stealing money for themselves and the people seeing the unfairness of that. I also liked how he does not mention what place or time the story is set in but still manages to create a modern society. The only thing I didn't like about it is how the person telling the story keeps changing as it makes the story very confusing


I found Trash very exciting and am sure if you read it you will not be able to put it down.

Henry, from University College School London

Trash, by Andy Mulligan, is a book based upon three boys called Raphael, who is the main character, his friend called Gardo and a boy who lives in rubbish called Jun. The book is written in the first person and this helps it be an enjoyable read because it makes the reader feel more involved in the story. I would say that the genre of this book is Adventure.


The basic plot is that Raphael, Gardo and Jun live on Behala Dumpsite in South America. One morning when they are looking for something worth anything in the trash Raphael finds something extraordinary that could change their lives forever. Together the three of them solve a mystery with the help of different friends. The police are still trying to solve this crime when the boys have already discovered some vital clues. Their dangerous journey is described in the book.


I think that my favourite character is Raphael because he finds the money and he is the one that the police tortured for information and he didn’t give in. He is also the narrator for the first part of the story which is good as well. He was very determined and extremely brave.  I really enjoyed the book because there was more than one narrator which is unusual for a book. It was also a novel that you didn’t want to put down and when you had finished you wished it was longer because the story was very exciting. For example I particularly loved the bit when Gardo went to the prison. I think that this book is aimed at people between the ages of 11 and 16 because that is the age that the boys are as well.

James, from University College School London

Trash certainly isn’t trash. It’s a wonderful thought-provoking novel. The book is written in a very interesting and original way as each chapter is narrated by a different character. This means that you get many different perspectives on other characters and on decisions which have been made.


The story is set on a dump site in a deprived area of a South American city. The young boys who work at the dump are the main characters in the story. These boys are only around ten years old but because of their rough upbringing they have prematurely grown up and also they have had to acquire wits and skills such as lying to survive in the corrupt city in which they live. At points throughout the book the young boys who work at the dump have to fool and mislead adults such as charity workers and a teacher who works at the tiny school which is situated on the dump site. The young boys are incredibly independent as they at many points search and travel alone across the poverty stricken city where they live.


The young dump boys are very much in tune with the way in which their city is run as in the early stages of the book they make decisions which indicate their scepticism of, for example, the police. These decisions, which were probably correctly made, show once again their maturity as many of their older family members and friends might have been more gullible.


As I mentioned earlier, the way in which the book is laid out is very interesting as we get different views on matters in the book. However, I think that this method could be improved by an extra narrator being introduced who is not a character. This means that the reader can make a judgment on each character, but this time the judgment can be based on the truthfulness of what the character says. Furthermore, because of the introduction of an external narrator the reader can also determine how mature and strong a character is.


The boys from the Behala dumpsite encounter many problems throughout the book. A simple bag, which they find in the rubbish heap, leads to their investigation into the corruption of their politicians and services and the search into the lost lives of those who speak out against their rulers. But, can the three young boys survive the police force that sets off to destroy those who seek the truth and uncover the facts into the corruption of their politicians?


Trash is an excellent novel. I would recommend it to children above the age of 10 and right through to adults as the book wonderfully intertwines corruption and poverty.

Jamie, from University College School London
Trash is about three boys named Raphael, Gardo and Rat who work on a horrible, unhealthy dumpsite called Behala. All day they rummage through the mountains of trash searching for what they call "stupp." If there is anything they can make money out of they will sell it.


During a long day of work Raphael finds a briefcase containing a man named Jose Angelico's ID and six million dollars. Several hours later police show up looking for this briefcase but Raphael and Gardo have already hidden it. The police become suspicious of Raphael but Raphael is also suspicious of the police. There is also a note in the briefcase written to a man named Gabriel Olondriz whom the boys go off in search of.


Trash is written in a very odd but effective way. It is almost written like a diary but many people contribute to it. Each chapter is told by a different person so, for example, in Chapter 1 Raphael tells a section of the story but in Chapter 2 Rat tells a different part of the story. It's also written in 5 different parts which is fairly old fashioned for a book.


Trash is a very engaging and blood pumping story especially towards the end. It could be a little more descriptive in the middle but it is still interesting.  The ending is a magnificent, majestic and wonderful one that you wouldn't predict. This book is not just about three boys finding money and going on a long mission to return it. It sends out a message about charity and how lucky you are to have a home and not be rummaging through trash all day as soon as you are able to crawl.


Trash is truly amazing.

Jeronee, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

Three street boys take on the world in this fast-paced and exciting story. Raphael (a dumpsite boy) finds a bag of clues and hope which will change everything and he and his friends Gardo and Rat are running for their lives. They uncover a dead man’s mission to fix and put right an awful wrong. This book has touched me because it shows how people in dumpsites live through different points of view and is a book which I would definitely read again.


Read this book to find out what happens to these three ordinary boys from the street. 

Julian, from University College School London

Raphael Fernandez is a dumpsite boy. He lives with his aunt, cousins and usually his best friend Gardo. He spends his days climbing through mountains of trash, sorting it, breathing it in and even sleeping next to it. Then one unlucky day, Raphael's world turns upside down when he finds a small leather bag filled with money an ID, a key and a map. It's a bag filled with clues. It's a bag that will change everything. Soon Raphael and his two friends Gardo and Rat (Jun Jun) are running for their lives.


Wanted by the police, it takes all their quick-thinking and their smart minds to stay ahead of the trash police. As the story unravels, they discover that someone robbed the vice president for six million dollars and no one knows where the money is. It's three garbage boys against the whole world! What will happen next? I think that this is great book and I would recommend this book to anyone; adults, teens and children. It is a page-turner that I didn't want to put down.

Kiavash, from University College School London
Three friends named Raphael, Gardo, and Rat all live together in Behala, the rubbish town where they work as dumpsite boys. Theirs is a lifetime of going through rubbish looking for anything valuable to sell.


One day Raphael and Gardo are sifting through trash as normal. Then, suddenly they find a small leather bag which contains a wallet, a folded-up map, and a key. From this moment, they are hunted mercilessly, running through the city in one of the most miraculous and adventurous chases ever.


When the police turn up and ask anyone if they've seen a bag, Raphael and Gardo lie about not finding it. Rat tells them that the key opens a locker in the central station so they secretly leave the dumpsite and go to the station. Inside the locker they find a letter that shows a prisoner number, a cell block number and the location of the prison. They open the letter to find a strange page full of mysterious numbers. You'll have to read the story to find out the rest... perplexing, isn't it?


This is a great story, but I didn't find it as intriguing as the adventures of Huckleberry Fin, which is a fantastic book. However, Trash was still very good and I would give it a highly respectable 8/10. One of the main reasons for this is because the author uses a lot of present tense which is quite hard to do in my opinion. This is a great book with a really a great idea on its pages.   

Laura, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

Trash is a book unlike any other. The suspense and mystery grow stronger throughout the book. The description is so magical you believe that you are there with the characters, seeing their every move and watching how they figure out the clues.


Raphael and Gardo get hold of a bag that could change their lives forever. They trust this secret with their friend Rat and together they set out to find the answer to a mystery that could send them to prison or make them have a better life than they have ever had before as dumpster boys.


Written in the first person, this book is very clever, proving that all people are equal and should be treated as equal. Just because you’re richer doesn’t make you more important.


It is a touching story which as well as having a moral is a fantastic story. The only thing I found slightly weird was the ending, which although it made sense was a bit disappointing because there was no real spark to it. If the grandfather had died and Gardo, Raphael and Rat had looked after the little girl that would have been a more emotional and a better ending.

Lorcan, from University College School London
This is a novel that has a purpose beyond telling an imaginative and thoroughly encapsulating story.  The book's central characters are from the poorest parts of Manila in the Philippines.  The three heroes, Raphael, Rat and Gardo are all young boys who make a living sorting through piles of rubbish in the town's rubbish dumps.  They find a purse with money and more, a secret clue to scandal and corruption at the heart of the country's political system. 


The book tells the story using (mainly) their three perspectives, despite the fact that one of them, Rat, is illiterate.  It is a sad story of human greed, police brutality, murder and family disruption.  A gripping story from beginning to end, it portrays not only political corruption and the awfulness of living in a dump, but also involves code-breaking and stealing; something that you would expect to find in an espionage novel. 


The author obviously has a greater purpose than telling a fantastic adventure story.  The poverty described in the book is shocking with young boys living and working in conditions undreamed of by most of the potential readers.  It tries to open your eyes to how life is lived in other parts of the world and how difficult life is for these people.  Western economic help faces problems of corruption but some individuals from our world can make a difference through teaching and helping the children. 


The story is touching, and the reader develops a real sense of empathy for the characters. For brief moments, you are transported to the dumpsite, feeling the heat, smelling the trash... and for those brief moments, you feel a sense of injustice and cruelty throughout the world, and, more than anything, you want to help. It is in these brief moments where Andy Mulligan truly achieves what he set out to do; to make people aware of the monstrosities that blight this world, but, perhaps more importantly, to make them want to help.


Overall rating: 9. 5/10- A truly gripping story worthy of merit all around the world. The only small criticism I have is that, Andy Mulligan could be accused of being slightly hypocritical with his ending, because in the real world, the world he is trying to get across to the reader, ‘happily ever after' would not happen.

Min-Kyoo, from University College School London

Trash by Andy Mulligan explores the life of a dumpsite boy called Raphael Fernandez - the book is also unique in its way of story telling as it is set out like a collection of diary entries [by] different people, such as Father Juillard and Gardo, Raphael's closest friend. Mulligan's vivid account of the dumpsite is so believable, that you could close your eyes and see the towers of rubbish and smell the waste.


To be honest, I enjoy reading action-packed stories such as Alex Rider and the Young Bond series but Trash shows that not only action stories are captivating to read. Well, I'm sure that instead of rambling on forever (for it would take that long to discuss every single good thing about Trash) perhaps I should mention the story a little more.


When Raphael suddenly finds an envelope containing lots of money, he and his friends find themselves caught up in a conspiracy, involving the police and an inauspicious character called Jose Angelico. And at the end of the story Raphael finds out that - well, it would be unwise to reveal the conclusion, but I can tell you that if you read the story, it will be virtually irresistible to turn to the back, and take a sneaky peek...


Trash is a very fun read, and will keep you entertained throughout the whole story. I hope you will believe me when I say, despite its rather conspicuous title, I can guarantee that it certainly is not Trash.

Nikita, from Jewish Community Secondary School

When I was told that Trash told of the story of a boy living on a dumpsite in the Philippines, I was delighted. I was certain that at last I had discovered a novel that had broken free of the modern generation’s expectations for unrealistic, overly violent and altogether not terribly good page turners.  Alas, I was mistaken.


This book certainly has its differences: a style where each chapter is told by a different character; a slightly more difficult topic; and more interesting characters.


However, the changes in point of view often seem to confuse the plot, and I have found myself several times in the extremely annoying position of being unsure as to who was telling the story. I now wonder whether there was a reason for this style, or was Mr. Mulligan simply trying to make his book stand out of the crowd? I don’t know, and either way, I’m not sure it really helped with the story, even if it was a good idea.


However, the thing that really let down the story for me was the fact that Mulligan had chosen a very good topic - something serious at last - but he simply turned it into an everyday, teen action thriller. Almost every other book published in recent years for a teen audience is written in more or less the same way. Yes, the topic of a dumpsite boy, political corruption and book codes is intriguing, but if the foundation of the story is still police chasing after a boy who’s chasing after a person who’s chasing after some money, then what makes this book any better than Alex Rider, Young Bond and every other such novel? Yes, many twelve year olds I know will probably say that they liked it, but does this mean that it is a good book? No. Does the fact that I make a big deal out of its flaws mean it is bad? Not necessarily.


But what I will say, is that it is better than the Alex Rider-type stories simply because it has a boy living on a dumpsite running after the money rather than some English kid who has better things to do. But underneath, it is still the same kind of book - nothing more, nothing less.


Oliver, from University College School London
Trash is full of beautifully compelling emotion, agonising truth and unbelievable political scandal.


The story starts with three boys, earning a living on the rubbish they collect. One day something amazing appears in the trash- a bag, stuffed with 1,100 pesos! Also in the bag is a small metal key wrapped up in a dog-eared map.


Rat, Raphael and Gardo run to the station, accompanied with the 1,100 pesos. They open one of the station's lockers using the key, trying to stay out of site and not look suspicious. Rat opens the locker. Inside is a brown envelope. Gardo tears open the letter. Inside ‘written in thick black ink' is the address of a prisoner and several numbers making absolutely no sense whatsoever. "I opened the letter and read it out loud....... then again the letters made no sense: we understood none of it. All we were sure of was that we were getting into something deep, getting deeper". Read this incredible story to find out what happens next!


I think this book is honest. It does not hide impurities and reveals the devastating, jaw dropping truth about how the other half live. I think it uses modern techniques and simplicity to make the reader want to read forever and be disappointed when the book finally draws to a close. 

Oliver, from University College School London
This story is set in Behala, a shanty town known as the ‘rubbish town' and which I understand is based by the author on a similar place in Manila, in the Philippines.


The story is about three boys aged between 11 and 14 (Raphael, Gardo and Rat). They are impoverished, uneducated, orphaned and have been sifting rubbish for as long as they can remember. However, their lives changed on the day that Raphael discovers a small leather bag on the dump site. Inside the bag is wallet and inside the wallet are items belonging to Jose Angelico including 1100 pesos, old papers, a photo, a map and a key. This find was to change the lives of the three boys for ever.I enjoyed this book... It was an exciting and interesting read and I would recommend it.

Ricardo, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

I am reviewing Trash because I liked this book the most. Trash is about two boys who live in a dumpsite and they pick up trash to sell. One of the boys is Raphael Fernandez. My favourite character is Rat because he was so helpful throughout the whole book.


I think this book is good because I have never read a story like this. I also love dramatic books.

Robyn, from The Mount School

Trash is a story of courage, friendship and mystery. Raphael is a dumpsite boy and his life revolves around rich people’s trash. Raphael and his family live in Behala raking through one man’s rubbish to find their next meal. Behala was not always there, Behala replaced Smoky Mountain because of the serious land slides which killed thousands of people. But when Raphael, Rat and Gardo find a mysterious item in the filth it turns their lives upside down. It may make them happy at first but when they find out the police need it as evidence they soon realize they all are in grave danger.


Andy Mulligan, the author who wrote this exciting, rollercoaster of a story has left me on the tips of my toes wanting to know more each time I put this book down. Trash is narrated by multiple narrators which really gives you an insight to each character’s personality and more.


I recommend this book to anyone who likes an exciting book with a twist then Trash is the book for you, it is packed full of mystery and adventure and I hope if you do read Trash then you enjoy it as much as I have!

Rory, from University College School London
The book is set on a dumpsite the size of the Himalayas in a town called Behala. Two best friends called Raphael and Gardo are sorting through the trash one day when they find a bag. Curious to see what is inside they look and find a wallet, a few hundred Pesos, a picture of a young girl, a key, a map, and an I.D card for a man called Jose Anglo. This is where their trouble begins. The next day the police arrive at the dumpsite and offer a reward of 10,000 Pesos to anyone who finds this bag. The police say they will also give 1,000 Pesos to every family in Behala. The boys decide not to give the bag in, hoping the reward will go up and also to try and find out why the police want it so badly, but their plan is in jeopardy when Raphael's auntie (the only person Raphael had told about the bag) says "Raphael found something!"  Luckily when the heat turns on Raphael he manages to cover it up by saying "Uh yeah I found a shoe" but the police are still watching him.

Later on in the story Raphael turns to a boy known as Rat (he was named this because he lives underground, surrounded by rats) to hide the bag and he quickly becomes part of the gang.

This was the first of many hot situations that finding the bag got them into. I will not describe all of them, just the most important ones.

The police are so desperate to find the bag that they take Raphael to the police station and interrogate him. This interrogation includes hitting him and slapping him, dangling him out the window, pulling his hair and cutting his chest on a wall. I know, gruesome!  The building is surrounded and there is no way out except, up. The boys open the roof of the house they are staying in and immediately start leaping and running across the roofs of all the other houses nearby. Soon they encounter a policeman on the roof in front of them but they quickly jump into a crowds of street boys and are now camouflaged. They are safe.

In the end the boys find what they were looking for and they all live happily ever after- apart from the police who are still following a trail that will lead them to an empty coffin.I would give the book five stars! It's a fabulous piece of literature. One of the best books I have ever read! Absolutely incredible; well written, a great plot and an all-round great read!

Sam , from University College School London


This novel tells the story of three boys: Raphael, Gardo and Rat, friends who literally live in a 'rubbish town' called Behala. The whole community from where they come from are desperately poor and live in boxes stacked on the rubbish. There are no toilets or running water; all the inhabitants are utterly dependent for survival on what they manage to find in amongst the rubbish. However, one day everything changes when Raphael makes a surprising find (which will change their lives for ever). A small leather bag containing 1100 pesos, a map, a key, papers and two photographs. One of these is an identity card for a man called Jose Angelico. Raphael secretly shows Gardo what he has found, but they both soon realise that they must have found something of crucial importance when the police arrive soon after. The police tell them that they were looking for a bag, which may help them solve a crime and had been put into the trash. The police were offering huge sums of money to whoever finds the bag. This made Raphael and Gardo realise that they must have found something extremely valuable because the police were offering much more than the 1100 pesos. It was clear that the information was even more vital than money. The finding of this small bag unravels a long-hidden history of corruption at the heart of government, a greedy and dishonest Senator and the efforts of ordinary people to expose that corruption.  Raphael, Gardo and subsequently Rat find themselves thrown into turmoil, are in fear for their very lives and exposed to the harsh experience of brutality and extraordinary adventures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The three main characters are Raphael and Gardo (who are both 14) and Rat whose real name is Jun-Jun (who is three or four years younger). Gardo is more dominant than Raphael and the two of them are like brothers. Neither Raphael nor Gardo have any parents, although Raphael lives with his aunt and small cousins. The boys sleep next to each other every night. Raphael does not think of himself as being brave like Gardo, but to his surprise finds that he has the courage to be extremely brave. Raphael and Gardo reveal the secret find to Rat who is a real loner and is called Rat because he lives with the rats in a deep hole and had come to look like one. He had no family and was very reliant on the Mission School for his survival. However, his looks proved to be very misleading as he shows himself to be very clever, determined and resourceful with crucial knowledge of areas outside the Behala dumpsite. His long held dream of living in a beautiful area as a fisherman becomes achievable through the adventure in which Gardo and Raphael include him. Gardo had initially treated Rat with contempt and Raphael made no attempt to come to Rat's support, but all of that changed as the story progressed. The three characters are really courageous against incredibly tough odds and show just how resourceful they are in even the most desperate situations.


There are other minor, but nonetheless important  characters, like the kind and caring Father Juilliard, who runs the Mission School on the Behala dumpsite  and Olivia Weston, a temporary mother at the school, without whose help the boys would not have succeeded (even though Olivia was tricked into helping them). Then there was Gabriel Olondriz, the elderly and dying prisoner comes across as a strong and principled character, with a true passion for justice and the poor.  There were also Grace, the maid to the corrupt Senator, who used to tell Jose Angelico how kind, brave and honest he was as she worked alongside him at the Senator's house.  There were also Frederico Gonz, who makes grave memorials and who explains how Jose got him to make a stone for his daughter Pia, and who tells of how the poor are not even buried properly - he is a sincere and decent man dealing with the terrible grief of the bereaved.


The book is set in an environment which is completely alien to the environment in which most of us live; a massive garbage dump in which huge numbers of desperately poor people try to survive in. All have to fend entirely for themselves and people are born into and die in the rubbish. The Mission School provides real assistance with food and a place to learn and rest but it is very limited in what it can do for the children. The book is set in a world which is truly shocking. Apart from the garbage dump, there is the frightful scene of brutality in the police station where Raphael is beaten, tortured and made to fear for his life. One of the police officers who had told him that he was a piece of garbage then asked Raphael "What is the point of you, eh?" There is also the dreadful prison where the courageous Gabriel Olondriz is held until he is weak, shrivelled and on the verge of death. Olivia described with disbelief the low cages stacked one on top of another into which the prisoners were packed in the stifling heat with a smell of old food, sweat and urine. Will Jun-Jun's dream of a paradise of soft sand, fishing and happiness be realised?


Andrew Mulligan loses no time in taking the reader straight into the action in this breath- taking book. The mechanism of using different characters to tell the story keeps the book very exciting. It also gives you a real feel of each individual character's circumstances and feelings. This is very effective in allowing the story to be told from different perspectives. This book shows just how alone these children are and how nothing happens for them unless they make it happen. As Raphael says, talking about the key he found in the bag: "With the right key, you can bust the door wide open because no-one's going to open it for you."


The author tells us that he based the book loosely on a place he visited while he was living in Manila in the Philippines, where there really was a school and children who will crawl through the trash forever. He asks that just like Olivia in the story if we have time we too should visit Manila and try and make a difference.


The reader is transported from his or her own experience of ordinary life to the very essence of poverty and corruption. The descriptions of the conditions of the people who live in the garbage are hard to for us imagine.  The book brought me to one conclusion: that my life is in fact no ordinary life but a life of privilege which like many of us I take for granted without considering the enduring hardship and poverty into which I could have been born and which others suffer every day.


I think this is a brilliant book and would recommend it to anyone who wants an exciting read and really wants to understand just how different the experiences of our world can be, depending on where you are born.

Sam, from University College School London


Fourteen year old Raphael Fernandez is a dumpsite boy, digging through mountains of trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it, all in order to keep his aunt and cousins alive. Raphael has had no education or any parents.


Digging through trash Raphael finds a mysterious bag; a bag which turns his life upside down. The bag contains keys and an identity card. This discovery of this bag grows into a life and death situation, including involving the police.


The book begins with two of the three main characters of the book; Raphael and his best friend Gardo. Living in a slum, hoping for the best, they work all hours digging through rubbish - just to make a little money to get by. The fourteen-year -old boys have no hope for a better life until one day they find a leather satchel which changes their lives forever. They then encounter a heart-stopping adventure that leaves you clinging onto every word and action.


The novel is told through the many situations that the characters become wrapped up in within this mysterious adventure. The tension continuously builds as the boy's face more danger, and the ever pursuing police. How will it end.....


I loved how Andy Mulligan wrote this novel. By writing it from all the main characters' point of view (as no other author I know of does) I found this classic fascinating and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Shanice, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

So far I am really enjoying this book.  I have not finished yet, but I look forward to carrying on and finding out what the future chapters hold.


So far, three boys have found something really special in a huge rubbish pile. It is a wallet containing lots of money. I like the way the author exaggerates things and is so detailed. The main character is called Raphael Fernandez and he is a dumpsite boy.


The opening of the story is very engaging because it helps you understand how they lived amongst piles of rubbish. Then all of a sudden they find a miracle. The language in the book is interesting. At the start of the book it is in the first person, then it switches to the third person.


So far my favourite part is when they found the wallet, because you understand the excitement the characters are feeling.  I am really enjoying this book and look forward to reading the rest of it.

Stan, from University College School London

In summary this book is about three friends named Raphael, Gardo and Rat who all live together in Behala the 'rubbish town', where they work as dumpsite boys, and endure a lifetime of sifting through rubbish looking for anything valuable to sell. One day they find something amazing. From that moment they are hunted mercilessly running through the city in one of the most miraculous and adventurous chases ever. But, in search of a person and his daughter and with money in their pockets, the three friends will not stop being chased until they give up... They are in need of a miracle.


The brief plot: One day Raphael and Gardo are shifting through the trash as normal, but they do not finding anything. Then suddenly they find a small leather bag. Inside it contains a wallet, a folded up map, and a key. But soon the police turn up and ask everyone one if they've seen a bag, Raphael and Gardo lie about not finding it. Rat tells them that the key opens a locker in the central station. They secretly leave the dumpsite and go to the station. Inside the locker they find a letter that shows a prisoner number, a cell block number and the location of the prison. They open the letter to find a strange page full of mysterious numbers. You'll have to read the story to find out the rest... Perplexing, isn't it?


The main characters are Raphael, Gardo and Rat (AKA Jun-Jun). However many would argue with this as the story has first person perspectives from all of the characters, other people would just say Raphael as he has the most chapters in first perspective.


My rating: This is a great story, but I didn't quite find it as intriguing as the adventures of Huckleberry Fin, which is a fantastic book. However, Trash was still very good and I would give it a highly respectable 8/10. One of the main reasons for this is because the author uses a lot of present tense which is quite hard to do in my opinion. This is a great book with a really a great idea on its pages.   

Will, from University College School London

In this review of ‘Trash' a novel written by Andy Mulligan I am going to look at the ways in which the book worked and the ways I thought it didn't. Overall after I had read ‘Trash' I thought it was an extremely good novel.


‘Trash' has four main characters (plus a few more sub-main characters).The characters are called Raphael, Gardo and Rat. My favourite is Rat because to me he is the cleverest one, the bravest one and the one who lived with the most hardship and yet he has still managed to be clever and to survive.


Raphael, Gardo and Rat are living on a dumpsite when Raphael finds a bag with a key, an ID card and a few other things including LOTS of money!! Inside the wallet there is a note saying ‘go to a train station and to look inside a locker'. They then find another note saying go to Colva Prison and look for Gabriel Olondriz. After that everything turns into excitement and mayhem. It was the mayhem that I liked!


This was just the beginning of the story and if you continue reading this book you are sure to find a lot more excitement. Now onto what I liked and what I disliked. As mentioned at the beginning of the review, I thought ‘Trash' was an extremely good book. I thought the description was really very good, but what I really liked was the fact that the author didn't drone on about one particular thing for ages. The book was fast-paced and to the point. The main thing that I found phenomenal was that it was written in a number of views, not only one sense of opinion. In most books you read only about one person and their opinion on the things that happen but ‘Trash' has variety.


The only thing I found that was not so great about the story (and perhaps it only applies to me) were that some parts were quite confusing, especially who was related to Jose Angelico and who they were in relation to him e.g. grandson, daughter etc. But after reading some parts again I understood it and thought it was a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Trash' and hope that Andy Mulligan will write many more books like this! Rating 9/10