Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
Release Date: September 1st, 2011
Carolrhoda, 210 Pages
Source: Advance Reader Copy
Age Group: Young Adult
When you’re sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you’re lucky, you’ll 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 first and foremost about Kid. Is Kid a boy or a girl? After reading this book I still don’t know the answer to that question but I think that’s what the author was intending. We, the reader, don’t know who/what Kid is because I don’t think Kid does either. This is a story about identity, even when your parents may not understand.
This novel consisted of interwoven and non-chronological stories, told from Kid’s perspective, about two summers in Brooklyn. Each summer is focused on Kid’s current love interest. And while at first I found the style of how the stories are woven together confusing and unappealing, after I finished the book I took a step back and could really appreciate the way the entire overall novel was written. Steve Brezenoff had it right in the way that he chose to present Kid’s story.
I think one of the stronger and simultaneously weaker points of the book for me was the setting. Brooklyn, New York is a place that I have never been before and therefore it was hard for me to imagine it just as it is and was described in this book. At the same time, I feel like Brooklyn was described so accurately (with street names, etc) that if the reader had been there, then the entire map would have been laid down crystal clear. I could appreciate the setting, while at the same time having it be a little ambiguous.
Brooklyn, Burning is a good book but it took me more than half of it to get into it. So if you do pick up this book, make sure to read the whole thing before coming to a conclusion.