Trash by Andy Mulligan

It's weird how some books look like issues books, but either hide it really well or aren't issues at all.  Trash is a good example, because while it is set in the landfills of an unnamed Asian nation (probably the Philippines based on various clues in the novel) and features large populations of homeless people living in those dumps, it's pretty much a straight adventure-mystery.  I expected a lot more commentary on the plight of the people, but while you do get the sense that life sucks for thee people, it's not what the story is about.

Raphael is one of those people, living off of whatever useful refuse they kind find, spending their days digging and looking for whatever they can of value.  While there are social services provided by various NGOs and whatnot, they don't find them useful since their lives are all about immediate survival.  While picking through the trash one day, Rafael finds a wallet.  With that discovery, things quickly turn ugly.  The police come looking for it, and he hides it, bringing undo pressure from the authorities in the community.

He takes off with some friends to figure out why the wallet is so important, only to find that the owner is deceased, and a major figure in attempting to exposing the ultra-corrupt Vice President of the country.  Adventure ensues.

The book is told in a police report style, with various characters each getting a chance to put in their perspective.  It's not a long book and moves pretty quickly, and it is definitely better suited to younger teens.
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