Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review~Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Kid (yes, that's what "he" calls himself) has been living on the Brooklyn streets, in warehouses, and in the basement of a bar ever since his dad packed his stuff and told him to get out. He has a tendency to fall in love with other lost musicians-first Felix and then Scout. He somehow manages to surround himself with some caring adults who gently try to push Kid to make safe(r) decisions. He becomes the prime suspect in a warehouse fire for which he doesn't want to seem to admit he's not guilty of, not even to the police. Kid's guilt lies not in his responsibility for the fire itself but in who he lost in the fire. Kid must deal with his father's prejudices over his seemingly indeterminate sexual identity when the police release him into his parents' custody.

I enjoyed reading this book, but realized once I started to write this review that Kid's story might just be a little too neatly wrapped up. I have my doubts that a kid who finds himself living on the street would be fortunate enough to find not just one, but two, adults who truly have his best interests at heart. While there seems to be some debate about whether Kid is male or female, I have a hard time imagining a girl's father would have such issue with his daughter's sexual identity that he would kick her out of the house. I read the book thinking Kid was a boy, and still do even after seeing there's some debate over this.

I would definitely recommend this book for teens, especially those trying to figure out where they stand on the sexual identity spectrum.

Thanks to Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Lab and NetGalley for access to this title.

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