Katya's Reviews > Brooklyn, Burning

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
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's review
Jun 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, i-wanna-write-like-that, lgbtq, arc-galley, favorites, the-ya-project
Read on August 13, 2011

Also found here: http://theninjareader.tumblr.com/post...

It's summer again, which means a lot of things for Kid. In the last year he was kicked out of home, lost a loved one and had his roof burn down (both literally and figuratively). He's hounded by the police, and isn't too thrilled when he discovers he's falling in love again, with a guitarist who answers a long-forgotten add.

That's not really what this book is about, though. It's just what I could sum up in two sentences.

Much like its narrator, Kid, Brooklyn, Burning is hard to fit into a particular category. Is it Young Adult or documentary? LGBTQ or not? A coming-of-age story? A music story? The answer is none and all of the above.

While the people and some of the places in the book are fictional, the problems described are not. Surveys that LGBT youths represent the majority of homeless teenagers, which makes Kid's story not only sad, but horribly plausible.

Also, although I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have enjoyed it, throughout this book I just wanted to walk in there and give Kid a big hug. No particular reason, it just felt like something I wanted to do. His character is really alive - from his background to his experiences, everything rang true and his voice was very relatable. I'm not sure how much of his story was coming-of-age, since he already has been through a lot, but he was yet to draw conclusions from those experiences and grow.

Music also plays a role in the story, but not in the way it usually does in YA. Typical "music" narratives have the events of the book structured around the band's (or musician's) road to success (see: Five Flavors of Dumb). In Brooklyn, Burning there are actually two narratives, developed in a parallel manner - the now and the before - Kid's current life and his story prior to meetign Scout. The music is the thing that links the two narratives together, just as it links Kid with Felix, and then with Scout.

There are some things I didn't like about this novel, but now that I write this review, I discover that 24 hours later I can't even remember them.

So, my final verdict? Definitely worth reading. It's not just because it showcases some excellent characters and some very important questions, but also because it's a story about love. Love between friends, love between a parent and a child, love between two people which is like no other. And that's a nice story to tell.

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers for the purpose of this review.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Flannery (new) - added it

Flannery I've heard so many good things about BB. And it fascinates me to read books that are successful in never fully defining the protagonist. I guess I'm just excited for the ambiguity of this one.

Katya I think you'll like it.

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