Synopses & Reviews
is back at San Paulo Junior High completely unprepared for his new celebrity status as the-boy-who-survived-a-gang-brawl. Facing unwanted attention from both foes and fanatics, Jake is out to make some changes-for better, or for worse.
On the Eastside of town, Jake's former best friend, Danny Uribe, has stepped up in the ranks of the local gang, the Raiders. Now that Danny is calling the shots, he has to start making some tough decisions. Life as a Raider may not be all that Danny thought it would be.
Meanwhile, Hannah Schwartz is starting a new school year at Costa Blanca Preparatory Academy. No longer perched at the top of the social ladder, Hannah must fight for her position on the popularity pole. But frenemies have set their sights on Hannah, and they won't make it easy for her to get ahead.
And as for Dorothy Wu, no one is as excited as she is about starting the eighth grade. With her new drama class friends and her boyfriend, Prince Jacobim, by her side, what else could a Wu ask for? But Dorothy has never navigated rocky relationship waters before. Can she help save Jake from the moody blues? Or will Dorothy end up dumped in the trash can, too?
In this remarkable follow-up to Trash Can Days, Teddy Steinkellner delivers a contemporary story that is as hysterically funny as it is heartbreaking. In the end, there will be epic dance-offs, stunning sleepover secrets, life-changing spin-the-bottle sessions, and-oh yes-lots and lots of cats.
4Q 4P M J San Paulo Junior High has become a gang-free zone since Jake Schwartz's stabbing. Fully recovered physically, Jake proves unprepared for the emotional abuse he must endure from gang members who blame him for the new lockdown. His girlfriend, Dorothy Wu, tries to be understanding, but the more Jake is bullied, the more he pushes her away. Jake begins to wonder if he should have transferred to the private school with his sister, Hannah, even though she must withstand mean girls trying to destroy her. Through all of this, Jake's former best friend, Danny Uribe, finds himself more deeply entrenched in the local gang responsible for Jake's stabbing. Even though he helped save Jake's life, certain choices draw him to a dangerous path. Dealing with the aftermath of Jake's stabbing, Trash Can Nights serves as the quirky sequel to Trash Can Days (Hyperion, 2013). Steinkellner's sequel effectively provides backstory to bring readers up-to-speed without being overly repetitive for those who read the first novel. Through the use of humor, the author creates an authentic world of characters and events that reflect middle school angst complicated by gangs, bullying, mean girls, social media, relationships, and drama. The use of multiple genres and perspectives also helps readers gain a deeper insight into the lives and struggles of teens. Although the novel boasts 432 pages, its fast-moving plot and interesting characters make it a quick, fun read for anyone. This novel, as well as its companion, would be a wise addition to teachers' and librarians' shelves.-Courtney M. Krieger.--VOYA
PRAISE FOR TRASH CAN DAYS: A MIDDLE SCHOOL SAGA
"Steinkellner skillfully juggles a large cast, giving even minor characters distinctive voices and making their disappointments and growth feel real." --Publishers Weekly
Being a teenager-at least in this book-is a lot like having multiple personality disorder. In the first chapter of the novel, Dorothy and Jake are typing the number 3407 into a calculator-it sort of spells "LOVE" upside down. By Chapter 20, Jake is TPing her house, and she's stalking him with a pair of binoculars. Every major character goes through a personality change. Danny is selling drugs for the Raiders in one chapter and fighting the gang members in another. After a while, MPD starts to feel like a metaphor for the entire book. Steinkellner is capable of writing nearly flawless sentences ("Darrell snickered like a female weasel" is both funny and apt), but there are whole chapters of shockingly bad writing. Often, they're bad on purpose. There are lengthy excerpts from songs and stories written by the students: " Never you mind that, my Handsome,' Princess Dorothy said as she held Jacobim's head against her ample bosom ." Unfortunately, they are not so bad they're good. They're just bad. The real problem is that reading the book feels exactly like being in junior high, complete with awful poetry. Anyone who loved predecessor Trash Can Days (2013) will keep reading to find out what happens next, but other readers may find themselves looking for a story without quite so many mood swings. (Fiction. 12-18)--Kirkus
Gr 6-8 Danny, Jake, Hannah, and Dorothy are back in the sequel to Trash Can Days (Hyperion, 2013). Jake is dealing with the fallout after being stabbed at the end of the seventh grade. Dorothy is as unique as ever, writing and in love with Jake. Despite having his first strike and a summer at the Teen Center, Danny is still a member of the Raiders, a local gang, and fast assuming a leadership role. Hannah has started ninth grade at a new school and quickly realizes that she is no longer the queen bee. Over the course of the year, romances come and go and friendships shift. Danny has to contend with the realities of gang life, Dorothy has her heart broken, Jake has to figure out who he really is, and Hannah just wants revenge on the mean-girl bullies. Written in four alternating viewpoints, IM, Facebook status updates, plays, short stories, and school announcements, this realistic portrayal of a middle-school experience-a time of big changes and the beginnings of self-awareness. Reading the first book is not necessary, although it will add to the enjoyment of the sequel, which is sure to be popular. Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL--SLJ
About the Author
(www.teddysteinkellner.com) spent all of middle school waiting for puberty to begin, and . . . okay, he's still waiting. Luckily, Teddy went on to graduate from Stanford University, and to write Trash Can Days: A Middle School Saga.
He currently splits his time between Palo Alto and Los Angeles, California.