Junkyard Kids, by Caleb Broderick


Junkyard Kids was a tale of the different variety. A dark, crazy variety. But, oh man, was it good.

After witnessing a murder, and subsequently becoming involved, a gaggle of homeless kids embark on the most terrifying journey. Serial killers, hallucinations, guilt, and plot twists.

There were quite the handful of unique things about this novel. We’ll start with the protagonists. Normally when homeless people are involved, the end goal is, of course, a home. Not in this narrative. To be honest, their main goal is survival. Food, shelter, clothing…all of that takes the biggest back seat. So the author is already deviating from standard tropes.

The main character is a POC. And he’s not a stereotype either. There’s a few intersecting storylines involved in the narrative, and I can’t decide if his or Leon’s is more heartbreaking. His level of development throughout is astronomical. He’s not the only POC in the novel, either. They’re all respected characters, not bad stereotypes.

Alright, now the tone and writing. Easily my favorite part. Mostly because of the dialogue. Instead of keeping everyone speaking “proper” like many novels do, these kids have imperfect grammar. They stutter. They feel like actual, real people.

Character dynamics between each other really came full circle, I feel like. They start together, split up, then come back together. Through everything that happens, they stick together. And, I mean, why not? It emphasizes the point that they’re all each other has left.

I liked the way the plot was set up. It teased readers with the appropriate amount of information. There’s several twists throughout. Most of the time, the reader won’t see coming, even if they recognize the foreshadowing points. I thought I had things all figured out. Nope. Not even close.

I will say some of time jumps took me a second. Chapters are marked with what time period each one takes place in, but it doesn’t feel like the smoothest transition. They did do an excellent job of providing backstory for the reader. They focused on all of the junkyard kids, how they met, and how they got to their current state of things. It’s adds a bit more emotionality and sympathy for them when the reader realizes just how bad things are for them.

Junkyard Kids provides such a powerful, colorful picture. These kids are crazy tough and resilient. And yet, they’re still brilliant. Not just smart (and believe me, they are), but they’re excellent people. This is such a wild, worthwhile read.
Buy it here!

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