Burn Baby Burn
Burn Baby Burn

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Annotation: During the summer of 1977 when New York City is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, seventeen-year-old Nora must also face her family's financial woes, her father's absence, and her brother's growing violence.
Catalog Number: #151880
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 310 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-536-20027-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-99852-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-536-20027-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-99852-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2015954454
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In this vividly evoked coming-of-age story set in 1977 NYC during the oppressive heat wave, seventeen-year-old Nora Lspez faces an insecure future after graduation. The very real fear of an at-large serial killer is magnified by violence at home, and Nora's mother barely scrapes by. Nora is an empathetic character; Medina depicts her troubled family and their diverse Queens neighborhood with realistic, everyday detail.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 Up Nora Lopez is 17 in 1977 when New York City faced one of its most horrific summers in history. A serial killer called Son of Sam was on the loose, shooting innocent couples; the city faced a blackout complete with looting; and arson was rampant. Nora's brother Hector is illegally dealing drugs and physically abusing his mother, Mima, and Nora. Their father is practically out of the picture, unreliably sending checks and calling only on the holidays. Nora works at her neighborhood deli, helping the family to make ends meet. Just when Nora's fear and panic peaks, she meets new hire Pablo. While Nora is not ready for a relationship, one quickly forms. Ashamed and embarrassed, Nora hides secrets about her family from Pablo and from her best friend, Kathleen. 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. VERDICT A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections, especially where Ruta Sepetys's books are popular. Erin Holt, Williamson County Public Library, Franklin, TN
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* It's 1977 in New York, and almost-18-year-old Nora is about to graduate high school and is saving up for her own place. Of course, it's not as easy as just moving out. Her Cuban immigrant mother, who only speaks Spanish, relies on her to navigate everyday life. Meanwhile, she coddles Nora's firebug younger brother, Hector, whose short temper is getting more violent by the day. No matter what Nora tells her mother, she does nothing about Hector and faults Nora for his delinquency, and, before long, his terrifying, uncontrollable rages become too scary to handle on her own. Medina artfully links Nora's escalating domestic turmoil with the infamous summer of 1977, marked by blackouts, sweltering heat, racial tensions, arson, and the Son of Sam killings, all of which simmer menacingly in the background. 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. Nora herself is wonderfully multifaceted rdened by responsibility, delighted by disco, crazy about the handsome boy at her job, and, all the while, stalwart and determined to make her life on her own terms. 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.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Nora Lopez is seventeen during the summer of 1977, as tensions mount in New York City due to increased arsons, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who shoots young women and couples on the streets. Nora has significant problems at home too. Divorced, her father only calls on holidays, leaving her mother helpless and falling behind on the rent. Nora's younger brother, Hector, is spiraling downward toward arson, drugs, and violence. One highlight is the new, cute guy hired to work with her at the deli; however, Nora is not sure dating is worth the risk with a shooter at large and her complicated home life.Historical fiction is sometimes a hard sell for contemporary teens; however, Medina's novel entices readers by developing realistic characters and a strong plot framed by the turbulence of 1977 in NYC. At its heart, this is a novel about growing up. Nora struggles to find her identity outside of her family and make choices that will impact her future. There is a strong theme of feminism and redefining a woman's role during that time in history. Nora's outlook on relationships and life in general is frank but refreshingly honest. This is recommended for a more mature audience due to language and adult situations. Some flaws notwithstanding, this novel is a strong choice for its message, characters, and historical perspective.Linsey Milillo.
Word Count: 68,508
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 180933 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.2 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q68581
Lexile: HL680L

“Medina holds nothing back. . . . A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections.” — School Library Journal (starred review)

Meg Medina transports readers to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high: the infamous 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. Seventeen-year-old Nora Lopez’s family life isn’t going so well, either. Before she turns eighteen and can strike out on her own, Nora will discover that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit — and the hardest to accept.

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