Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
Published by Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: March 21st 2016
Genres: Gay, m/m, Young Adult
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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.
Due to his parents divorcing Nate has been uprooted from his home in Austin, Texas and moved to a little town called Warren, Wyoming that’s dying a slow and painful death. He meets Cody not long after moving and they hang out together for a few weeks before their senior year starts. Cody tells Nate that he won’t want to hang out with him after school starts but Nate assures him he will.
When school starts Cody makes himself scarce even though Nate looks for him constantly. Nate lives in an area of town that is upper middle class called Orange Grove and Cody lives in a trailer in an area they call The Hole (short for shit hole). The kids from the Orange Grove are preppy, petty and snobby and Nate really doesn’t like them all that much – especially when they talk trash about Cody. Of course now that Cody avoids him he really has no true friends.
Eventually Nate finds out that Cody is gay and in Wyoming that might as well have been the plague. No one wants to be around Cody, especially with AIDS big in the news for the past few years. Of course small town thinking means that Cody possibly has AIDS just because he’s gay – doesn’t matter that he’s a virgin. When Nate starts to analyze his feelings about Cody he finds that he’s attracted to him and soon admits that he’s gay as well. It’s not something he’s comfortable with at first but if it means he can be with Cody then he’s all for it. Of course once Nate’s father finds out all bets are off and soon the boys are being torn apart in more ways than one.
This was a very powerful YA story that really touched me. I can so easily see all of this happening in a small Podunk town in Wyoming and the prejudices that Cody had faced his whole life – from being trailer trash to being gay. It was assumed that he was a bad kid just because of his parents and where he lived and that broke my heart as in this case he was just minding his own business. Even Nate’s dad, a local cop, had his own prejudices against Cody and he’d talked to the boy only once.
Nate and Cody together were a great couple. It was hard for Cody to see the light at the end of the tunnel but Nate gave him the hope that he needed to do what needed to be done so that they could be together. I loved the two of them to pieces, both separately and together. They each brought distinct personalities to the relationship that were so different in so many ways but blended perfectly together.
The story was very sad in a lot of places but had a theme of hope running through it that kept me reading. I really liked the flash back in time to the late 80’s and that was a fun aspect of the story with all the fashion that is mentioned. This young adult, coming of age story is so good and one that you won’t want to pass up.
Rating: 4 out of 5