Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Brooklyn, Burning

Author: Steve Brezenoff

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

3½ out of 5 stars

After Felix left nothing has been the same. 

There has been an inexplicable shift that no one can identify, but we all feel it.  He’s gone and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.  All around me I see the reminders of Felix everywhere.  But… now there might be someone else.  There’s Scout.  Scout, who plays the guitar.  Scout, whose voice is the soundtrack of my summer.  Scout, who has made my summer worthwhile.  Scout, who I think I might love.

Kid has roamed the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn for two summers now.  Kid will catch up with Konny, or go and find Jonny.  Then Kid might stop by Fish’s bar later and help clean up for a warm Coke or two.   This is Kid’s life.  Kid is past worrying about making it home, or about how Felix isn’t around anymore, or even the fact that the warehouse is burned down.  Kid is just trying to get by.

Kid and Scout just happen to be in the same place at the same time.  They’re just two kids who happen to be roaming the streets at an ungodly hour of the morning and happen to stop by Fish’s bar.  They’re just two kids… no, they’re much more than that.  They’re two teens who, amid all the chaos of their world, have found one another.  And that makes it all okay.

But will the past catch up with Kid?  Last year’s warehouse fire is still under investigation, and Kid is the number one suspect.  Will Kid be forced to move back home, or will Kid be taken in for starting the fire?  And what about Scout?  Could Scout be the new Felix?  All is revealed in Steve Brezenoff’s profound novel about two teens’ journey to live their lives on their own terms in, Brooklyn, Burning!

Brooklyn, Burning had so many aspects about it that made it stand out.  This is definitely not a novel that I will forget anytime soon.  Filled with emotion, hope, and love, this is a book that will uplift your spirit and remind you what really matters in life.  I received Brooklyn, Burning from NetGalley*, and I recommend it for teens fourteen and up as it does contain some mature content.

The most striking feature about Brooklyn, Burning is the fact that the genders of the two main characters, Kid and Scout, are never revealed throughout the entire book.  At first it was a bit difficult to read Brooklyn, Burning and follow the story, as I felt that I needed to know the genders of both characters.  I felt that it was absolutely necessary.  As I kept reading though, I realized that I didn’t need to know whether Kid or Scout was male or female.  It didn’t matter.  The story was still the same story, with or without defining the teens’ gender, and that made it all the more beautiful.

“This is not a love story.  This is a story about love.”  I feel that this quote from the movie 500 Days of Summer describes Brooklyn, Burning perfectly.  It’s not a story about two teens falling in love and living happily ever after.  It’s about the love that Kid has for Kid’s chosen family, for Scout, for Kid’s life, for the city Kid lives in, and for what once was.  I really appreciated the fact that the focus of the story wasn't some typical love story, but it was so much more than that.  This book showed what love really is, and that it doesn’t have to be labeled or branded.  It’s just there, and that should be enough.

It was a bit difficult for me to really get into the story at first.  The writing was a bit awkward, as Kid is narrating and Kid refers to Scout as ‘you,’ almost as if Kid is talking directly to Scout.  Soon it felt natural reading from Kid’s point of view.  I was able to connect so much more to the story, as it was as if Kid was talking to me directly.  Brooklyn is described in detail as Kid roams the streets and summer dwindles away.  Steve Brezenoff paints beautiful pictures of the streets of Brooklyn that only someone who has a true respect for its beauty would be able to do.  It was hard for me to relate, as I have never been to Brooklyn and don’t really know much about it in general.  I think anyone who lives in Brooklyn, or has visited, will be able to fully appreciate the beauty of it in Brooklyn, Burning.

Kid’s first summer in Brooklyn ended in devastation and loss.  As the story unfolded, more of Kid’s curious past is revealed.  However, it was challenging to try and piece together everything that has happened.  Some examples would be Felix and the warehouse fire.  Both are critical points in the book, yet it was hard for me to understand what was currently happening, as I didn’t know much about these two very important events.  While you learn bits and pieces as the book progresses, you never get the full story.

Brooklyn, Burning is an evocative novel that will have you following along as Kid makes the most of summer, after everything has changed.  Tackling issues that many teens have to deal with, this is a book that is meaningful and a fresh take on a love story.  Join Kid and Scout as they try to make their summer last forever, and go backwards to recover that which was left behind in the rush in, Brooklyn, Burning!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

*I received this book from NetGalley, a website on which you can request free advanced reader copies of books.  I received Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff in exchange for my honest review.  This book will be released on September 1, 2011.  Thank you NetGalley!

Check out Steve Brezenoff's website at


  1. Wow, this sounds like an amazing book. I love that quote from 500 Days of Summer though. I think the fact that the reader doesn't know Kid or Scout's genders would make it really unique and just intrigues me more, along with the mystery of Kid's past. Great review!

  2. This sounds like such a great book! I would probably try to pin down the sex of the characters, too. I was trying to in your review, but you're right, it doesn't matter. Love is love and if this author has done it that well without ever revealing their sex, then I think this book needs to get a lot of publicity!

    As for your review, it was amazing! You are such a great writer and your reviews make me want to rush out and get the books right away! I already have The Goats waiting here by my bed for me to read. Keep it up!


  3. Wow, wonderful review Tessa! I got this one from NetGalley too, and after reading this review of yours... well, I just cannot wait!
    Thanks for the review!! :D

  4. Tia- Thanks, I'm glad this one sounds so interesting! I love that quote from 500 Days of Summer as well :) Not revealing both Kid and Scout's genders throughout the entire story was a great feat, and it made this book all the more compelling to read.

    Buried In Books- I agree, I think this book should be read far and wide, because it really dawned on me as I was reading, that the genders weren't what was important. The story was still the same, and their love for one another shown through.

    Aww, thank you so much! That means so much to me. I'm so glad that my reviews make you want to go out and read the book, and I really hope you enjoy The Goats as well! If I can get one person to want to go read a book and get lost in its story, then I've done what I set out to do :)

    TheBookAddictedGirl- Thanks so much! I can't wait to hear what you think of this one. I really think you'll enjoy it :D

  5. This book sounds really good! I would be thrown off without the genders of Kid and Scout as well, but I think the way it's narrated would be enticing enough to get me through it. I like how you described this book and am putting it on my TBR pile.

  6. Yay, I hope you enjoy this one! Not knowing the genders of Kid and Scout definitely becomes easier to deal with as the story progresses, and the narration helps as well. I can't wait to hear what you think of this one!


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