Title: Trailer Trash
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release: 21st March 2016
Genre: M/M (contemporary / new adult)
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.
It’s 1986, the year I left college and the world was waiting for me to take it by the horns – lol! It’s funny to think that a story written in this period can now be classed as an historical – AAARGH! That’s why I haven’t labelled it here in my review as I’m feeling old enough already without having to state the fact in the genre listing – lol! This was a trip down memory lane, Falcon Crest, Dallas, shoulder pads, Rubik’s Cube, trim phones, Yazoo, Culture Club, OMD, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, the list is endless. However, the one thing that will forever leave a stain on the 80s was AIDS, people living in fear and ignorance. Little known about it, I remember the public information commercial on the BBC that use to scare the living bejesus out of me. It’s a wonder I even kissed anyone at all as a teenager, let alone if you thought you were gay. Then it seemed for a lot of people you were already condemned to death before you had even done anything if you were gay.
It is in this all too familiar backdrop that we meet Cody and Nate. Teenagers living in a town that is now desolate, unemployment sky-high, the whole town a pit of depression and despair. Anyone growing up here would not have it easy. Two boys that couldn’t be more apart on the social class scale if they tried. Cody is trailer trash his mum hardly making ends meet. Nate has recently moved to town with his dad who is a cop, are comfortable financially, but by no means affluent . Even though they couldn’t be further apart in this respect a chance meeting at a gas station leads to a love that not even they saw coming at first. The one thing they both have in common is that they are both teenagers from broken homes with single parents.
Cody hasn’t been dealt a good hand in life and despite all this he is still not a bad guy. Never lies or cheats, is never violent, just accepts his lot. This in itself was for me so tragic, oh my, how I wanted to comfort him. He’s almost resigned to the fact that his life sucks, the town sucks and there’s very little he can do to change it. Nate on the other hand lives on the other side of town. The side regarded as wealthy and having money. So Cody not ever really entertaining the thought that their friendship through the summer holidays would last once the start school.
Once school starts then I loved how Marie Sexton portrays your typical high school, all the teenagers in cliques according to their social class and background. But thinking about it it would be like this as teenagers will gravitate to their own kind. Cody is almost an outcast with everyone, Nate gets invited by the more middle class student’s to parties, etc. but even he doesn’t “feel right” in their company. This whole book was a wonderful study in class and society and its many attitudes. Just because of where Cody lives and who is mother is, he is immediately stamped as being no good. Even today I still can’t believe how people make assumptions based on your background. But for me Cody was like a lotus flower. Sometimes the most beautiful flowers will rise from the muddiest and darkest waters. I fell for Cody hard - big time!
But this is a time for sexual experimentation. Cody already knows and accepts he’s gay, so just another thing to be chalked up on his list of trailer trash stereotypes. Cody just found out and accepted it earlier than Nate. But no doubt had the same insecurities at first. Nate however, has feelings he can’t explain, he is attracted to Cody, knows what it is really but has to come to terms with it himself first. Nate’s first encounter with a girl had me smiling like a loon as YES, I WAS THAT TEENAGER and YES, THAT WAS EXACTLY MY FIRST EXPERIENCE TOO!!!! Right there written on page. It was like I was reading my biography all over again as to what that little encounter was concerned and all the other feelings I was having at that stage as a teenager too. Society telling you that’s the way you have to live but deep down knowing you are different. That the love you feel is not what is expected. You try to conform but you know it’s never going to work until you accept your lot, come to terms with yourself and the rest be damned. Well done on that one Ms Sexton. I don’t know how or where you get your information and empathy from but that was spot on!
You could really feel and understand the teenage emotional turmoil, the feelings and hormones running high, hopes dashed but then dreams to live for. The love that develops between Cody and Nate is so sweet and tender at first. Cody not letting himself believe that this could be happening as nothing good ever happens to him. But Nate has to first defy all odds to convince Cody of his love. That he’s not using Cody or it’s just a phase, that he truly loves him. Of course it takes a while and quite a few teenage dramas to get there, but it’s all too real. Cody needs Nate, he needs someone to show him that he can be loved, his background be damned. Someone that can offer a better future than the one he can see for himself currently. And in the middle of them coming to terms with all of this, being gay in sh** hole of a town is the onset of AIDS! Hanging over their heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles put there by the press, disinformation, fear and scaremongering is rife. Oh I could so relate to this. Why? Because I was there!
Once again Ms Sexton has delivered an emotional drama, full of teenage hopes and fears, times where I had a tear, times where my heart just burst for joy. It’s always the stories where love wins through against all the odds that get me every time. This one is no exception. I guess the only small thing for me personally was I felt the ending was a little rushed. After all the build up getting Cody and Nate to a safe place, it just seemed to pick up pace a little too fast for me. I just felt their time apart until they met again could have been fleshed out a little more. But nonetheless a wonderful story, that took me back to my own formative years as a teenager with all its familiar things like, cassettes and Walkmans, E.T. and Back to The Future, the list is endless. So if I can remember it then I’m not calling it an historical – lol!
Meet Marie Sexton
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.