cover image Trashed!


Martha Freeman. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-6659-0535-0

Eleven-year-old Arthur Popper likes his comfortable, familiar life living above his family’s thrift store, Universal Trash, in Boulder, Colo. But his quotidian existence is derailed when a funeral for the pet mouse of younger sister Ramona brings about an accidental rodent haunting. Supernatural conundrums deepen when a chipped teacup with a puzzling past, previously thought stolen, suddenly resurfaces in the shop. The ghost mouse, named Watson, takes up residence inside the teacup and persuades Arthur to unravel the mystery behind the item’s appearance. Doing so uncovers an even larger enigma at the store, with far-reaching consequences that prompt him to begin seeing his neighbors, friends, and family in a new light. A subplot tackling issues of prejudice and racism raises vital questions about but fails to explore the societal forces that perpetuate systemic racism. Freeman (Noah McNichol and the Backstage Ghost) uses pastoral, omniscient third-person narration to drive the overarching mystery. Nestled between hunting for clues and interviewing witnesses is a portrait of a busy, lovingly rambunctious family trying to run a beloved thrift store while navigating myriad internal conflicts and engaging in thought-provoking personal growth. Arthur reads as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Mattson. Andrea Brown Literary. (Jan.)