Monday, December 31, 2012

Brooklyn, Burning

by Steve Brezenoff
Carolrhoda LAB | 2011
Get it now!

Kid is only 15 but has been kicked out of home and is making do on the streets. Friends like Felix, a junkie; Fish, a friendly bar-owner; Konny, a friend since childhood with problems of her own; and Scout make life a bit more bearable. When NYPD starts sniffing around trying to pin a warehouse fire on Kid, things get turned a little upside down.

At the core of this poignant YA book is gender. How its performed, by whom, and when. The reader never learns what gender or sexual orientation Kid or Scout are--and it's unclear whether they know themselves. The fluidity of sexuality and of gender assignment is in question here. How people deal with it and interact with it are also important. Even while these themes are central, they are dealt with subtly (and handily) by Brezenoff. This book makes me want to read it in a book club or class, to talk about how each and every person reads it differently--it's one of those books.

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