Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Burn Baby Burn

by Meg Medina

  •             Hardcover: 320 pages
  •          Publisher: Candlewick 
  •          Language: English
  •          ISBN-10: 0763674672
  •          ISBN-13: 978-0763674670

While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit — and the hardest to accept.


Rooted firmly in historical events, Medina's latest offers up a uniquely authentic slice-of-life experience set against a hazy, hot, and dangerous NYC backdrop. Rocky and Donna Summer and the thumping beats of disco, as well as other references from the time, capture the era, while break-ins, fires, shootings, and the infamous blackout bring a harrowing sense of danger and intensity...An important story of one of New York City's most dangerous times.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Medina weaves historical context throughout Nora’s first-person narrative, expertly cultivating a rich sense of atmosphere while still keeping her characters sharply in the foreground...Powerfully moving, this stellar piece of historical fiction emphasizes the timeless concerns of family loyalty and personal strength, while highlighting important issues that still resonate today.
—Booklist (starred review)

Medina uses Nora’s story to seamlessly connect readers to an unforgettable period in history, the setting leaving readers thirsting for more information about the summer of 1977. The character development is tight and accurately constructed. Medina holds nothing back, shedding light on the characters’ flaws, which teens today will be able to relate to. Medina is on point with the teen voices, evoking their intense fear, panic, and dreams. A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections, especially where Ruta Sepetys’s books are popular.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

This vividly evoked coming-of-age story is set against actual events in 1977 New York City...Nora is an empathetic character, and Medina depicts her troubled family and their diverse Queens neighborhood with realistic, everyday detail. Numerous references to New York’s budget crisis, arson wave, and "Son of Sam" newspaper stories deliberately ground the story in a real time and place, while an ample sprinkling of seventies disco and funk song references creates a brighter soundtrack for the dreams and romance of teenage girls, hinting at a hopeful future for Nora.

—The Horn Book (starred review)

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