Brooklyn, Burning

Steve Brezenoff. Carolrhoda Lab, $17.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7613-7526-5
Sixteen-year-old Kid, a passionate drummer and painter, spends summers on the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, taking refuge in Fish's bar, practicing drumming in the bar's cellar, and hanging out with friends. It's at Fish's that Kid meets Scout, a magnetic musician that Kid is drawn to but reluctant to get close to, still heartbroken after falling in love with—and losing—Felix, a musician and junkie, the previous summer. Brezenoff (The Absolute Value of -1) alternates between the events of each summer, but it's another authorial decision—to never make clear Kid or Scout's gender—that gives the story, and their relationship, their power (Kid's narration directly addresses Scout as "you"). The author throws out occasional references to Scout's "dirty-honey" singing voice and pixyish looks, and at one point Kid's father rages, "I've got the only kid I know who doesn't know whether to be straight or gay or a girl or a boy or what." But Brezenoff lets readers take the reins, recasting and reimagining the lead roles as often as they like. For readers with little use for labels, it's an intimate yet wonderfully open rock ‘n' roll love story. Ages 12–18. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Open Ebook - 212 pages - 978-0-7613-7945-4
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4677-1625-3
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