Medina, Meg. Burn Baby Burn. Candlewick Press 2016 310p. $17.99 ISBN 978-0-7636-7467-0 jr/sr Historical fiction E-BN
The summer of 1977 in the Flushing section of New York City was one of fear due to the high murder rate, including a killer on the loose known as the Son of Sam, sweltering heat without the benefit of air-conditioning, and a power blackout. The author deftly weaves all these historical elements, as well as pop culture references, into the story of Nora as she navigates the last few months of her senior year in high school and dares to dream of a future that may be better than what her mother had. Her absent father, her abusive and pyromaniac younger brother, and her passive mother all make her life difficult, as Nora has been the one in recent years to keep the family afloat emotionally and sometimes financially. As she contemplates turning in her brother for setting fires in her apartment building and a nearby pharmacy, she must come to terms with the ways she will be viewed -- by her best friends, by her parents, and by the larger community. This is a novel that will keep the reader involved to the very end. The budding romance between Nora and Pablo is comfortably left in limbo at the end of the novel. Readers will feel that hope and fortitude are Nora’s best attributes and will easily allow her to navigate her future with resolve. An afterword succinctly relays the historical background in which the novel is set.
Summary: Deftly weaving in historical elements of the nascent feminist movement, Son of Sam fears, and life in New York City in 1977, Nora navigates the end of her senior year in high school and plans for her uncertain future. Grades 8-12.
Family-Fiction, New York City-History-Fiction --Lois McNicol