Teenage wasteland

The Glass Collector

In Anna Perera’s new young adult novel, The Glass Collector, 15-year-old Aaron’s life is, literally, down in the dumps. Living in Cairo, his job is to rummage through trash piles in search of broken glass suitable for resale. That grim existence turns even more nightmarish when the teenager’s family kicks him out of the house, forcing Aaron to find a new way to get by. His alternatives aren’t very promising: steal, beg—or worse. Here, Perera sketches out a world that, while perhaps unfamiliar to Western teens, should still resonate with its universal themes of self-identity, perseverance, pride and how a complex labyrinth of circumstance and choice can shape one’s future.