Review: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

"It makes sense now. I know exactly what it means." He couldn't seem to stop smiling. "'When it's dark enough, you can see the stars.' And I think I do." 
Nate shook his head and kissed Cody again. "I only see you." 
Those four words were the best Christmas gift anybody had ever given him.

There have been a slew of books released and soon to be released set in the 1980s, a period of time that I'm more than familiar with considering I was a teenager in the latter portion. The books I've read so far have been lighthearted and fun reads, but what makes the latest book that I've fallen in love different is that it was a heavier read in terms of subject matter. Trailer Trash is a standalone novel by Marie Sexton and has two high school seniors--Cody Lawrence and Nate Bradford--who become best friends over the summer, but school politics and their own insecurities and confusion have both of them drifting apart as the school year begins. It's 1986 and they're Warren, Wyoming, a small town with a majority of small-minded residents. With Cody living in the Hole and new transplant Nate living in Orange Grove, hanging out shouldn't even be a consideration. Add to that the prejudice towards gays and life in Warren may get worse without any sort of hope of getting better anytime soon for two teen boys in love for the first time.

Cody is eighteen and is used to being an outsider, but when he meets seventeen-year-old Nate, he finds himself a friend. Nate is warned away from Cody, hearing stories of how his new best friend is nothing more than trailer trash, but Nate refuses to be swayed. Unfortunately, Cody already foresees how things are going to play out once school starts. There's a lack of communication between the two of them, and while it's easy to say that they should have simply started talking openly and honestly, these were two teenagers and I know how resistant a teen can be when they're told something completely different from whatever it is they've convinced themselves is true in their heads. It's understandable why Cody kept his distance from Nate when the school year began, but my heart went out to the two boys because it was clear that they functioned better with the other in close proximity to them. The time apart, though, introduces readers to one supporting character, fellow senior Logan Robertson, who both stole and broke my heart.

Earlier, I mentioned that this was a heavier read, and it was. These were two boys--one who already knew he was gay and was ostracized for it and the other who was having difficulty coming to grips with the mere idea that he may be gay--who were dealing with peer pressure, social standing, and the uncertainty of what the future held for either of them after high school graduation. Each one also had family issues, so the burden both Cody and Nate had on their shoulders became too much more than once. Then there was the great unknown back then: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. There was a lack of information and too many preconceived beliefs going around and I applaud how the two main characters, especially Nate, made it a point to learn all they could. There's a hell of a lot of hate that goes on in the story, with both Cody and Nate as its prime targets, but I appreciated that there were notable supporting characters, few as they were, who refused to kowtow to such inane, prejudices--homophobic or otherwise.

There were countless things about the story that I easily related to. From the music to the mention of late director John Hughes and Pretty in Pink, which is my favorite film from the 80s, there was more than a bit of nostalgia that I had going on. I also remembered how controversial AIDS was back then and how fear got the better of too many people and how it sadly became too easy to label the disease exclusively something gays contracted. Then there's how life was as a teenager in high school and how the plans you come up for yourself can veer away from those your parents believe is best. You don't have to be someone who grew up in that decade or even someone who's gay to appreciate a story as good as this one. You can choose to find one thing within its pages that feels familiar or you can relate to; or you can simply go into Trailer Trash with an open mind and heart and take it for the beautifully written tale that it is, one that shows love and hope can be found even in the bleakest of life's circumstances. Must-read. Five-plus stars. ♥

Release Date: 21 March 2016

Date Read: 20 March 2016

Learn more about Marie Sexton.

Purchase Trailer Trash on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


  1. I appreciate the review!



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