Hope For Garbage

Young Adult - Coming of Age
268 Pages
Reviewed on 05/20/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Alex Tully lives outside Cleveland with her husband, two teenagers, and a three-legged pooch named Bobo. Almost twenty years ago, her life took a dramatic turn with a diagnosis of MS. She decided to quit her career as a finance professional and try something she truly loved ~ writing.

She is the author of three feel-good YA novels:
Hope for Garbage, Beautiful Chaos, and The Lake Never Tells.

All of her stories feature ordinary characters who overcome extraordinary challenges with friendship, hope, and the incredible power of the human spirit.

Her hope is that readers will smile after turning the last page.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Hope for Garbage is a coming of age novel written by Alex Tully. Trevor McNulty is a teen with a troubled past. He’s been seeing a psychologist at the nearby Beaumont Health Center, but he’s reluctant to share anything with his doctor, not the recurring dreams nor the nightmarish past involving his dead mother. Trevor is only there because of a deal he’s made with Mr. Tyminski, who lives next door to Trevor’s uncle’s house. Uncle Gary is not the ideal parental figure; he’s violent and disgusting, but he’s Trevor’s only living relative. Trevor spends all his waking hours in The Box, the garage out back. Mr. Tyminski wondered about the quiet boy who spent all his time in the garage, and the two soon became best friends. Trevor is a garbage-picker. He finds things others have discarded and fixes them. Some go to his uncle to pay for his room and board. The rest Trevor gives away to the needy.

Alex Tully’s coming of age novel is an enthralling story that kept my eyes riveted to the page. Trevor’s story unfolds smoothly and beautifully. While he's still unable to face his tortured past, Trevor’s grown into a caring and intelligent young adult. The parallel stories of Trevor and Bea work quite well together. While they have vastly different backgrounds, both have dysfunctional parental figures and have older best friends who are also surrogate parents. Another dynamic aspect of this story is the complex give and take relationship between Trevor and his psychologist, Dr. Fisher. Hope for Garbage is a marvelous debut novel: it’s an outstanding coming of age tale fueled by the tension of the underlying psychological mystery. I’m very impressed with Tully’s Hope for Garbage and am looking forward to further works by this author.

Michelle Randall

To say that Trevor has had a rough life is putting it mildly. He currently lives with his uncle, who really wants nothing to do with him, and he is seeing a therapist only to appease his best friend and next door neighbor, who just happens to be a seventy-year-old man. He's never had a girlfriend and he rides his bike everywhere. One day he meets Bea, a privileged girl from the rich part of town, and they seem to like each other. They start to develop a relationship, but it is plagued by problems, one of which is her mother. Hope for Garbage is the story of a short period in Trevor's life, from the time he meets Bea until a few months later. Things seem to go from bad to worse, then get better. Alex Tully gives the reader insight into the world of this lonely and scared young man.

Hope for Garbage is not only a coming of age story about Trevor, but it is the healing of Trevor. He has scars from his life with his mother, before her death, scars from living with his uncle, and then scars from the events that occur during the story after he meets Bea. He doesn't trust the therapist he is talking to, but there comes a breaking point and he finally opens up to her, and the healing is able to begin. Alex Tully gives the reader a story about resilience, about overcoming the bad in life and finding a new purpose and new meaning. Trevor is the embodiment of that concept. This is a great book for young adults and adults alike. It truly will make you think about your own life and what you are doing with it.

Patricia Reding

Trevor McNulty, just a teenager, has faced more difficulties in his short life than many will ever do in Hope for Garbage by Alex Tully. Trevor’s father walked out on the family some years back. As for his mother — well, all that transpired with her is ultimately revealed but suffice it to say, her actions emotionally scarred Trevor. Living with a crazy alcoholic uncle who is Trevor’s only surviving family, Trevor is befriended by a kind neighbor man, Tim Tyminski, whom Trevor dubs Mr. T. Enter Bea, a young woman Trevor meets when hunting for salvageable garbage he can fix up for resale or to give to needy children; Lorene, the woman who keeps house for Bea's family; Bea’s crazy mother and Trevor’s counselor, and you have the makings for a story that will keep you coming back for more.

Throughout Hope for Garbage the reader knows Trevor harbors dark secrets, but is encouraged by Trevor’s outlook on life. Notwithstanding his hard times, he is caring and giving. It was refreshing to see this, as so often we see difficult times used as explanations, if not excuses, for going wrong. While it is understandable when such things occur, it is not the story told by every person who has withstood trouble. Trevor’s story is a welcome relief from the standard fare. Readers will quickly connect with Trevor and look forward to his catching a break. Hope for Garbage gives readers hope for themselves and for those who have struggled to survive and to live admirably.