cover image Naked ’76

Naked ’76

Kevin Brooks. Carolrhoda Lab, $18.99 (424p) ISBN 978-1-5124-0418-0

Told from the perspective of Lili Garcia looking back at her teenage years, this romantic coming-of-age novel chronicles the early days of London’s underground punk movement as bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash were forming. When classmate Curtis Ray asks gifted pianist Lili to join his band, Naked, as bass guitarist, she jumps at the opportunity to distance herself from her manic-depressive mother. Soon Lili is dating Curtis and enmeshed in the punk world. After she meets William Bonney, a virtuoso musician whose talent transforms the band into a headlining act, she falls for him instantly. As William confides in Lili about his IRA connections and Curtis falls further into drug and alcohol addiction, Lili is increasingly torn between William and the band. A shift to Lili’s present creates a certain emotional distance at the end of the novel after readers have spent so much time amid the dizzying energy of her youth. Regardless, Brooks (The Bunker Diary) delivers an exhilarating love song to the British punk revolution and spotlights the challenges faced by female musicians within the movement. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)