73 pages 2 hours read

Andy Mulligan


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2010

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  • Genre: Fiction; young adult dystopian; mystery/thriller
  • Originally Published: 2010
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 850L; grades 7-10
  • Structure/Length: 5 parts; 33 chapters; approx. 240 pages; approx. 5 hours, 21 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: In the near future, 14-year-old Raphael, along with friends Gardo and Rat, work each day as “dumpsite boys,” picking through a massive trash heap on the outskirts of a city. When Raphael makes a strange discovery in the trash, the boys are launched into a dangerous and suspenseful quest for justice and survival.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Poverty; some profanity; descriptions of violence, some graphic

Andy Mulligan, Author

  • Bio: British writer of children’s, young adult, and adult fiction as well as radio plays and screenplays; born in 1966 and raised in London; career background includes work as a theater director and teacher; presents as a visiting author at schools worldwide
  • Other Works: Ribblestrop (2009); Liquidator (2014); Dog (2017)
  • Awards: School Library Journal Best Books of the Year (2010); Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (winner); Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Carnegie Medal (shortlisted)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Corruption
  • Poverty
  • Friendship
  • Education

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the social and cultural contexts regarding poverty and government corruption for making comparisons in the novel.