Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Kid's been living on the fringes of Brooklyn and about to slip through the cracks. Working off-the-books (and not entirely legally) at a bar provides some food and a basement place to play music, and some days that seems like enough. Kid, 16, no longer lives at home, and hasn't for awhile; you can usually find a place to crash somewhere, even if it is on the street. Then someone answers an ad that Kid placed about a band; the ad is old, and a lot has changed since it was first placed. Kid must face what has happened and also find a way to keep moving forward - before everything falls apart.

This was a challenging book for me, but challenging in a wonderful way. I am a visual reader; I picture the characters, action, and setting as I read. Not knowing many details about Kid (namely, is Kid a guy or a girl?) was difficult for me, and caused me to challenge many of my assumptions about gender and narrative. The whole story evokes a very retro atmosphere; except for some of the details, I wouldn't have been surprised to learn that it was set in the 1970s. That added for me a strange 'the more things change, the more they stay the same' vibe that ran through the story. I'm afraid that this all sounds much more negative than I mean it to - I did really like this book, but it was not an easy book to read, and even though it's just over 200 pages, it really did loom large in my head during and after reading it. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Find it at IndieBound.

Find out more at Lerner Publishing.

Check out Steve Brezenoff's blog.

I read an advance reading copy at NetGalley. Brooklyn, Burning will be available on September 1, 2011.

Read it with:
The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
You by Charles Benoit
In Trouble by Ellen Levine
Brooklyn! An Illustrated History by Ellen M. Snyder-Grenier

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