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The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird

Mamo and Dani lead two vastly different lives, but they have one thing in common; they have no safe homes to shelter them. Mamo lived with his sister, until he was stolen and sold as a farmhand, to work with a cruel man for no pay. Dani lived in a mansion and went to school, but he could never do well in his classes, and his father is planning to send him away to live with a harsh and violent man named Feisal. Both boys see no choice but to run away, and through this comes a beautiful friendship that nobody could have imagined.


Suggested for ages 12+










I enjoyed this read quite a bit! While the beginning is quite brutal, the story soon becomes something beautiful, and a tale that you won't want to stop reading. The Garbage King will leave you rooting for its heroes; the street children of Addis Ababa. My one real issue with this book is that there are quite a few typos, and sometimes that took away from the story for me.

PROS Unique setting

Exciting story

Great characters

Violence and Scariness 3/5 Boy terribly beaten. Boy falls, skinning hands, feet, and knees. A few fights with no real injuries resulting. Boys whipped by adults and each other. Sex and Romance 2/5 Mention of prostitutes. Man tries to kiss a younger girl. Girl falls in love and gets married.

CONS Quite a few typos

Beginning is pretty brutal

Emotional Intensity 4/5 Orphans. Sick mother. Boy is kidnapped and sold as a slave. Boy poisons himself. Little boy dies. Kids living on the street. Drinking and Drugs 2/5 Mention of drunk adults and children. Boy says he is picking up meth for father. Kids are drinking and drunk.


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