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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Review: Trashlands by Alison Stine

by Alison Stine

Thanks to Booksparks & MIRA for this gifted book.

Publisher: MIRA
Publish Date: October 26, 2021
384 Pages
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia

A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.

In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club's violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.

Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.

When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?

Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent's journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.

My Review:

TRASHLANDS is a somber story fighting for your family in a place dubbed Scrappalachia, home of Trashlands, a "dance club" owned by a very evil man. But the evil here is in which they have to use plastic as currency while living in basically a large trash dump.  The cost to stay living there? Oh... just one child. As they have the tiny hands that can sort and pick through plastic easier than the large hands of the adults.

Uff.  Y'all.  This book is extremely well written.  For me, it was a bit of a trudge to get through as the slow pacing, multiple POVs and ping ponging between past and present and the subject matter had zero levity within. I'll tell ya though, this is a wake up call to what we as a society are doing to our planet.  I couldn't imagine living in a trash dump or ever even consider plastic being something of a commodity and to which they use to barter/buy.  Everything is outdated and younger generations will never know of... well, I suppose the nicer things in life. It is scary to think that this world could actually progress in this manner. 

With dystopia you always have the good and the bad, the will to go on and to also just give up entirely. This is more character than plot driven and I do wish there was a little more to the world building or at least more detail as to how we came into this situation... but I think we can, as readers, make a pretty solid freaking guess.

Go into this one knowing you'll get quite the story.  It's grim and raw and won't be for everyone.


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