When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you 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 a fearless and unconventional love story. Brezenoff never identifies the gender of his two main characters, and readers will draw their own conclusions about Kid and Scout. Whatever they decide, Brooklyn, Burning is not a book any teen reader will soon forget.
Brooklyn, Burning is the story of two summers in Brooklyn, two summers of fires, music, loss, and ultimately, love.
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.