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Burning City

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  144 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
It is the simmering summer of 2001 in New York City. Heller is the youngest employee of Soft Tidings, a messenger service whose motto is “news with a personal touch.” At Soft Tidings, a message is not handed over but told to the recipient. And the messages, as a rule, are not especially good news. Heller prefers his bike to the mandatory Rollerblades, and he gets away with ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
I'm torn between giving The Burning City three or four stars, the reason is simply because I am still not entirely sure of what it was all about. I'd consider it to be a coming of age novel, but I'm not sure how else I could classify this.
The story centers around the protagonist, bicycle-obsessed Heller, a sixteen year old boy who works for a company called Soft Tidings where his job is to disclose significant events, or bad news, to people - whether it is news of an abortion, a missed birthday
...more
Ocean
Nov 17, 2008 Ocean rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new york ex-patriates, speed demons, people who talk to strangers
i'm only halfway through, but i feel compelled to laud this book as a sweet wacky valentine to pre-9/11 new york city, and also an ode to the time-honored tradition of riding yr bike down the street really fast. super!

***okay, i finished it. man, what a good fucking book! why doesn't it get more credit?
Sharon
Mar 02, 2008 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
Very inspirational, those one-out-of-a-million kinds of books. I LOVE it.
Conan Tigard
Nov 13, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it really liked it
Being a cyclist myself, I quite enjoyed the descriptions of Heller racing through New York City. I really liked Heller as a main character, except for when he was on his bike. I found him to be both a little mean and vindictive, making a bad name for cyclist everywhere, not caring what he did, where he rode, or who he might hurt. That is probably why Bruno the Bruiser didn't like him and was always after him.

Burning City is a well-written book about one boy's struggle to reach for his goals, no
...more
Alessandra
Jul 12, 2013 Alessandra rated it liked it
It's the summer of 2001 in New York City. Sixteen-year-old Heller works for Soft Tidings, a messenger service whose employees visit the recipient of each message and tell them the news in person, rather than just delivering a note. Soft Tiding's motto is "news with a personal touch". Heller drives his bycicle recklessly aroud the city instead of using rollerblades like his colleagues, and gets away with it because he is the best at delivering bad news.

One day, Heller delivers a Turkish man the n
...more
Kate
Dec 17, 2008 Kate rated it liked it
Sixteen-year-old Heller works at "Soft Tidings" a New York company that delivers news with a personal touch. He rides around the city on his bike; in preperation for the Tour de France; delivering bad news to good people. When Heller gets some bad news of his own he reconsiders his life and the people around him.

The flashy cycling in this book is sure to catch a teens eye and the unusal characters and plot draw the reader in as they experience a New York summer on the back of a speeding bike.
Jeff
Apr 18, 2016 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Awesome book, and one of my longtime favorites. The vivid setting can take you to summer in New York even if it's winter in Cleveland. The characters are well written and personable; and as a native New Yorker, it's a bonus to know all the streets and neighborhoods - down to the book vendors! - in the book.
Darielle
Jan 28, 2016 Darielle rated it really liked it
Burning City was a very weird and unusual book. When reading the book I would often become confused, only to understand the confusion later on in the story. I guess that was what kept me reading because the main character, Heller, was a very mysterious teen and it took me a while to fully understand him. Overall, the book was great.
Lori
Jun 04, 2008 Lori added it
This was a weird book. It is about a kid who works for a messenger service that delivers telegrams personally. The main kid has a soft touch that delivers news of deaths, divorces, and all unfortunate news with ease. All of the people he delivers messages to weave a web in his daily happens. It is pretty interesting. I wouldn't say fantastic, but it is worth reading.
Justine Knight
Feb 07, 2014 Justine Knight rated it liked it
A good book but a little short. got it cheap though so I can't complain. The main character Heller was very likeable but I felt that there was a generic bad guy and he could have more of a backstory and history rather then just being bad for the sake of being bad.
Libby
Apr 22, 2009 Libby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middling
A strange little book. I loved that it was written by father and son though I did find it confusing in parts. I had too many questions about Heller and his family. It was also a very apocalyptic, I kept waiting for the end of the world scene...a very different little book indeed.
Alli
Apr 30, 2014 Alli rated it liked it
It was alright, good enough that I finished it. Very different from most novels. I wouldn't read it again to be honest.
Nineveh
Jun 12, 2014 Nineveh rated it it was ok
eh its pretty boring to me, the idea of it is interesting but the way everything is described was strange
Allyn
Nov 02, 2011 Allyn added it
I picked this up because of a short story I read by Ariel Dorfman in a fiction edition of Atlantic Monthly. So far so good...
Kelly Trowbridge
Feb 23, 2016 Kelly Trowbridge rated it it was ok
The setting in this book was very detailed and well written but the characters were so incredibly flat and nothing really happened until around page 200 then it was just over.
Sonia Allison
Sonia Allison rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2016
Lo
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Jun 05, 2013
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Claire Cunliffe
Claire Cunliffe rated it it was amazing
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Vladimiro Ariel Dorfman is an Argentine-Chilean novelist, playwright, essayist, academic, and human rights activist. A citizen of the United States since 2004, he has been a professor of literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina since 1985.

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