Brooklyn, Burningby Steve Brezenoff
When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you're really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching
When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you're really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. But as summer draws to a close, Kid finally finds someone who can last beyond the sunset. Brooklyn, Burning is a fearless and unconventional love story. Brezenoff never identifies the gender of his two main characters, and readers will draw their own conclusions about Kid and Scout. Whatever they decide, Brooklyn, Burning is not a book any teen reader will soon forget. Brooklyn, Burning is the story of two summers in Brooklyn, two summers of fires, music, loss, and ultimately, love.
A lyrical, understated punk-kid love song to Brooklyn and to chosen family.
Early in the summer of 2006, Scout comes to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, looking for someone to make music with. Kid, who plays drums and was kicked out by an angry father a year earlier, ostensibly for drinking, greets the newcomer with both suspicion and reluctant interest. Meanwhile, police are investigating the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse fire—based on a true event—and Kid is a suspect. As Kid moves through the streets and shops of Brooklyn, the narration names each place, creating both specificity and familiarity. Flashbacks to the previous summer, the fire and Kid's relationship with another troubled street kid slowly and deftly provide insight into Kid's circumstances. Homelessness, queerness and the rougher sides of living on the street are handled without a whiff of sensationalism, and the moments between Kid, the first-person narrator, and Scout, addressed as "you," are described in language so natural and vibrant that readers may not even notice that neither character's gender is ever specified. While a couple of scenes with Kid's mother feel overly redemptive, readers will probably be happy for them anyway.
Overall, the tone is as raw, down-to-earth and transcendent as the music Scout and Kid ultimately make together. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Meet the Author
Steve Brezenoff has written several chapter books for young readers, and The Absolute Value of -1 is his first novel for teens. Though Steve grew up in a suburb on Long Island, he now lives with his wife, their son, and their terrier, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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