by Loree Griffin Burns
Houghton Mifflin


If I hadn’t been following Burns’ blog and her tales of her first appearances as an (almost) published author, I never would have guessed that Tracking Trash is a debut book. Her exploration of the ocean currents and the human-produced junk they carry (including, but not limited to, nurdles) is a timely, fascinating, exceptionally well-done work of nonfiction.

The scientists that Burns profiles come off as having some of the most interesting jobs on the planet, even though many of their findings are downright depressing. Just wait until you get to the part about the Eastern Garbage Patch, an unimaginably large and foul collection of flotsam and jetsam on the surface of the Pacific between Hawaii and California.

Burns’ writing is both sophisticated and accessible throughout, and Tracking Trash is that rare nonfiction book where there’s always a photo or a map or a diagram exactly where the reader needs them to be. Before this book, I’d never given much thought to trash in the ocean, but I sure am glad to know that scientists are tracking this stuff, and that Burns has been tracking them. Read it yourself, and you may be inclined to track something, too: one author‘s very promising career.