Free eBook Brooklyn, BurningAuthor Steve Brezenoff –

Content WarningsAlcohol use Character death side character, suicide Cigarette use Emotional abuse from parents Underage relationship main character and a side character, the relationship is not glorified and addressed in a negative light ReviewI ve had Brooklyn Burning on my shelf for over a year, and the whole reason I even bought this was because a friend was gushing about it on Twitter two years ago But honestly, they re the only person I ve ever heard talking about it, so I suppose that s the reason why I hesitated on starting this But I started a TBR Jar to get me to read some books that I own and have had for literally ever, and this was the second pick from it The first was Prettyboy Must Die, but I enjoyed this one so much The thing that stuck out to me most about the book is that it s told in first and second person Essentially, the main character, Kid, is telling the story through their eyes to the love interest, Scout It s such an interesting way to read a story because it felt like I was overhearing someone s conversation It didn t feel like Kid was talking to me, because you is a character in the story I m obviously not This is definitely a trend that books about non binary characters in like 2015 and before have used to avoid pronouns, but this was well done It didn t feel like that s what he was trying to do.Like me go back to the whole non binary characters thing So this certainly isn t the most explicit rep, and it s not Own Voices either Brooklyn Burning was published in 2011, which was such a different world than the one we live in now when it comes to queer rights and their progress So neither Kid nor Scout is non binary on the page Still, you can tell because pronouns are never used for either of them and there are no gendered descriptions They re just people.Most of the named characters in the story have no problem with either of them being who they are Kid has problems with their parents, but they haveSo what is Brooklyn Burning about It s about A LOT There is so much going on in these 200 pages, because they take place over the course of two consecutive summers.It s about social class The main characters are all working class people A bigger plot point is a gross millionaire looking to get richer by taking over an abandoned building where a ton of homeless people live and turning it into a business.It s about falling in love As I mentioned in the content warnings, Kid has a relationship at sixteen with someone who is WAY older than them and is super bad for them But then they fall in love with Scout This is such a sweet love story that ties in so well with the other sub plot of self acceptance and self confidence.It s about growing up This part of the story is done in a great way that I don t see so much of in books, especially YA Brooklyn Burning switches between two summers I want to say it s the summers of 2009 and 2010 and this is an interesting way to show character growth, especially for Kid I really enjoyed the way that the past and present were shown in such a contrast of each other, and it made me realize that this is an aspect I d love to see in stories.Final ThoughtI m finished rambling now This is a really raw, beautiful, and underrated book I m so glad I stumbled across this because I feel like it s always going to hold a special place in my heart If you re a fan of complex coming of age stories with casual albeit possibly too casual queer rep, definitely pick up a copy of this.Support Me Elsewhere I squeezed your hand and looked at your face It was lit up, not from the rising sun, but from within, and I knew mine must have been too High points.Questions the restrictions and preconceptions of gender Brooklyn Music Love with no limits Sunsets No inhibitions The dark side of growing up The complex relationship between kids and parents who could never refuse to understand Summer Basements Sex Dealing with loss Looking to the future Happy ending thank god Low Points.When I love a book, I always want it to be longer I want to spend time with the characters that I have come to know and love and their friends and experience the world they see But, maybe with less junkies So I m stamping my foot and moaning because this book wasn t long enough Also I want to add another Low Point Not for the book but for me.Even though the two main characters had no gender, I couldn t help but assign them one anyway Throughout the book I kept looking for clues to see if Brezenoff gave anything awayShe must be a girl because boys don t drink Vodka and Cranberry, do they OK, he must be a boy because they wouldn t assume a girl set fire to the warehouse, would theyBut in doing that I realised I was just highlighting my own ridiculous and unfounded preconceptions about gender I have a male friend who could drink me under the table with fruit based drinks but I guess that wouldn t take much for I am an absolute lightweight Why can t a boy drink vodka and cranberry Why can t a girl set fire to a warehouse Absolutely no reason After about three chapters I gave up because I realised I didn t want to know what gender they were It didn t matter in the slightest Gender identities are drummed into us from birth but this book effectively shows us they are futile and restricting Love is love it doesn t need a definition or a label Hero, um no, Heroine I mean Hero No, it s definitely Heroine Or are they..a Kid has quickly become one of my favourite narrators in any book They have such a positive outlook on life and they remain hopeful, no matter how much crap is thrown at them I don t want to say anything for fear I will spoil anything But it was a pleasure going on Kid s journey with them Love Interest With Kid referring to Scout, who I like to call the enigma , as only You it felt like I was being let in on a glorious and intimate secret, like I was reading a one sided love letters and I was desperate to see the replies As I read this book, I couldn t help but think of those times on the bus where you eavesdrop overhear someone s conversation and it sounds so fascinating and captivating and for the briefest of moments you feel part of it This book is written for just the two of them and that this is just the first chapter.Theme TuneGirl and Boy Song Blur It s pretty self explanatory Random aside Look at those tracksuits I wish it was still the 90s and that I didn t Damon Albarn so oddly attractive with his eyeliner and the aforementioned tracksuit Angst Level.10 10 This book made my blood boil so this section is going to turn into a massive, incoherent rant on behalf of Kid, who isn t given the chance to speak for themself because they are written off by the people who are supposed to protect them from narrow minded people as soon as times get hard Unfortunately I am not mild mannered and my soapbox is prepped and ready It s hard enough being a kid It s even harder to be a kid growing up with feelings that society has deemed abnormal and wrong And it s impossible to grow up knowing your parents hate you because of something that is completely out of your control and one of the things that makes you who you are With the exception of Fish and, eventually Kid s mum, all of the adults in this book were so intolerant and despicable The police assume the worst, don t care about the truth and dismiss them as sexual deviants Konny s parents didn t care where she was and what she was doing as long as it wasn t under their roof And don t even get me started on Kid s dad This book covers the dark side of growing up in the urban jungle runaways, teenage prostitutes, drugs, problems with parents, corruption But it also covers hope, friendship, understanding, solidarity, and above all, love without restrictions and labels.Even though it may not seem it from the above rant I did warn you , Brooklyn, Burning is one of the most positive novels I have ever read and the ending is so beautiful that it washes away all the intolerance and shows that love will conquer all No matter how hard they try to quash it deep breath Recommended For.Everyone People who have ever felt at odds with society People who believe in unconditional love People who appreciate beautiful, thought provoking prose People who don t mind their preconceptions being challenged and then being unequivocally dashed People who appreciate the raw urban beauty of the city People who have always wanted to be in a band, even if they re pretty sure a drum kit would implode as soon as you looked at it People who like fruit based alcholic drinks People who have always thought that the sunrise is better than the sunset.I received a copy from the publishers via Netgalley You can also read the review for this book and others and a whole lot of other exciting stuff on my blog here. 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 This book came as quite a little surprise I recently finished The Absolute Value of 1, which was gorgeous but also full of difficult characters and had a heartbreaking ending So, I really did not expect this book to have a a sweet love story orb a joyously happy ending.Let s review what I thought this book was about homeless teenage runaways, intolerant parents, and gender identity You can see why I did not think this book was going to be a happy one But guess what This is a lovely, happy, beautiful book I know that most of the people who read these reviews probably know that I am not a huge fan of over the top, happily ever after type endings When I read an ending like that, it really challenges my ability to buy in to the story So, I just want to say thank you thank you thank you to Steve Brezenoff for giving me a beautiful soul healing happy ending that I can actually get behind This is the kind of happy ending that s supported by substance, and tempered with bittersweet uncertainty i.e my favorite kind Kid is one of the most endearing characters I ve come across He s somehow retained a large measure of youthful innocence, hope, and earnestness while dealing with her parents abandonment and struggling to survive as a homeless teen in Brooklyn She s supported by a motley and damaged group of characters that love and understand him Konny, the goddess and comic book expert Jonny, the affectionate prostitute who s there every summer with free drinks and a shoulder to cry on Fish, the bartender and substitute mother for lost teens and Felix, the gifted musician and junkie that was his first love, and her first loss.You may have noticed that I was a bit unclear with the pronouns there That s because Kid doesn t define himself either way We get to see this story through her eyes, as he meets and falls for someone new, but can t stop reliving the grief of her previous summer on the street The love interest, Scout, is addressed as you throughout the story so we never get to know Scout s gender either I think that this lends a large amount of intimacy to the story it s as if Kid is sharing her bittersweet memories with a dear friend.The only criticism I have is that the real estate developer conspiracy plot line felt a little bit shoe horned in to the story But this book just made me feel so warm and content and joyful that who cares about a little thing like that I think that this will end up with a higher rating than The Absolute Value of 1, simply because it is such a feel good book I recommend this for everyone Perfect Musical PairingThe National About TodayThis book is also a bit of a love story to Brooklyn with a few affectionate jabs So of course I had to pick something from Brooklyn based The National This song reminds me of Kid s heart break at the assumption that Scout will eventually have to leave the neighborhood and leave her aloneBrooklyn was my home, and I loved it I always had but my heart had grown, and filling it now was Brooklyn and you With summer ending, you could be gone could have been already and with my heart this big, Brooklyn didn t stand a chance of filling it up without you I squeezed the pick in my hand tightly, like I could hold on to you 4.5Surface it s about kids who are unsatisfied and feel unaccepted they re lost and maybe confused about who they are and what they want Closer and you don t really have to look that close with Kid telling the story, you get one that s just of People of being found, then lost, then found again There s plenty appealing in this It s real With a narrator like Kid, I could feel his anger, sadness I could feel as he did He doesn t sugar coat What he did, where he lived and those he knew all lived not so perfect lives But at least there were others What s so great about this was the space for hope, that despite the situation he they found himself in, there were people willing to helpthere were those who knew him better than those who should have, people like Fish, Konny, Felix, Jonny and Scout And his is a lovestory that read real, authentic unsure at first, developing slowly, with him finally feeling a bit comfortable yet insecure in what they were This book would have been perfect if not for the hokey badguy StillIt s WONDERFUL It s rough, it s sad, but there s hope, there s affection, love and a surprising happy ending too Much thanks, NetGalley Brooklyn, Burning was quite a surprise for me I think I expected something hard edged and bitter, the way I imagine the streets of Brooklyn might be What I got was something altogether different Brooklyn, Burning is the story of Kid as in Billy, the , a teenager living on the streets of Brooklyn Kid is an unlabeled entity we re never gives any indication of either Kid s gender or sexual orientation, simply because Kid doesn t know the answer to either question I found myself trying to read between the lines to find some indication of what Kid was, waiting for the moment it would be revealed It never was And I realized that this was not a story about finding what Kid was or even who, as s he seemed pretty comfortable in his her own skin rather, it was a story about Kid finding his her place in the world.Kid s simultaneous self awareness and refusal of conventional identity was refreshing and added an intriguing under layer to the storyline Though the story itself was engaging, the real winner was Brezenoff s style The nearly stream of consciousness style prose was mostly matter of fact, but would sometimes swell until it bordered on the poetic when talking about the way music made Kid feel To be honest, I m not quite sure I know what story this book tried to tell, only that I enjoyed the telling of it And that s worth at least four stars in my book. I ve been thinking about this for awhile What can I say that will do this book justice and won t sound like a bunch of gushing Truth All I can do is rave about it This isn t a boy meets girl story Or a boy meets boy Or a girl meets girl Or maybe it is That s the beauty of it This story is about two teenagers in a bad situation who fall in love It s about two human beings connecting through music and shared experiences And it s done beautifully All of the characters are REAL and nuanced, but Kid s voice is pitch perfect Poetic and gritty at the same time Kid had my sympathy right from the start I knew a lot of Kids as a teen I hung out with them, let them crash in my room, talked all night in the park with them, and stuck up for them when they were misjudged It didn t matter where they came from or if they were a boy or a girl I connected with them because we had parents who didn t get us or who weren t around We didn t fit in with most people our age Andwe were obsessed with music Steve NAILED this experience In short, I LOVE this book And I don t love many books It s my favorite so far this year, no contest. Fast read and the writing is really beautiful Parts of it are written in a 2nd person pov and while I normally don t like that, I loved it in this This book deals with important subjects but sadly in a very quick way and the warehouse plot didn t really pull me in I liked it and I do recommend it, but I did hope that it would be a five star read so it was a bit disappointing EDIT I ve changed from a 3 star to a 4 star rating what feels like a gazillion times now, but I m settling on 4 The I think about this book, the I love it and the I start to wonder why it s not wildly popular Still wish it was longer and that it explored some of the topics a lot though 4.5 stars Minor spoilers ahead If we only look at the surface, it s pretty clear that Brooklyn, Burning is about gender identity and sexual orientation issues But looking at the surface is not nearly enough By concentrating too much on things like gender identity, we fail to see what s underneath, and we miss everything that s beautiful Now, I know that sounds like a terrible clich , but it s a lesson that can t be repeated enough This book, much like its main character, refuses to be categorized It s really about many things loneliness, feeling of not belonging, honesty, big dreams, love and acceptance It contains some of the most beautiful passages I ve read recently, comparable only to Ultraviolet No no love, no songwriters, no long and gorgeous fingers in my hair Purity of voice and purity of heart doesn t mean purity of soul, and certainly not purity of body You d be gone in weeks, I knew, and I wasn t going to let you into my heart before then.I have zero tolerance for bad parenting If you aren t ready to deal with every possible outcome, you shouldn t be a parent at all Sure, unpredictable things can happen, but even if they do, you re still a parent Quitting that particular job is simply not an option But a father did give up in Brooklyn, Burning, and I ll spend the rest of my life hating him for it I would have loved to hurt him, but all I could do was grit my teeth Kid has gender identity and sexual orientation issues or precisely, other people have issues with Kid s gender identity and sexual orientation Kid is also very lost, lonely and unhappy Kid s father threw Kid out of the house because he refused to accept that Kid is different So instead of living in a house like a normal teenager, Kid was forced to live in an abandoned warehouse, with a junkie musician Kid couldn t help but fall in love with You may have noticed how I ve been avoiding the use of personal pronouns here that s because I don t know which pronoun to use I don t know, and I certainly don t care There s not much I can say about Brooklyn, Burning without spoiling it I highly recommend it to anyone who cares about the quality of prose The story is touching and Kid is one of those characters you don t easily forget My maternal instincts are still screaming from the need to hug and protect that child Favorite quote I don t remember what he sang about I m not sure I ever knew It was his voice, gritty but gentle, like my father s hands when I was too small to see past them, and the slow way his melody moved along its path, not in any hurry but enjoying every note for itself, rather than looking forward to the next note, and the next, until the song s end This song would have no end it couldn t possibly This song was forever.I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.Oh, and thanks, Wendy You are one great fairy godmother. Good writing and a story that didn t really affect me A homeless teen narrator whose gender and sexuality are never defined, kicked out of home for being undecided certainly a very interesting perspective from which to write a teen novel The message is clear labels mean nothing, only love matters.I wanted to like Brooklyn, Burning But it is hard to like a book which has romance at its core but whose characters you have no connection with Kid and Scout never came alive for me, they remained only ciphers, some abstract lovers whose attraction to each other is based on music that I can not hear or appreciate Homelessness is a scary thing, especially for children, but the details of Kid s and Scout s struggle of being on the streets are glossed over How does one become comfortable with living with a junkie or sleeping in an abandoned warehouse for months How does a child manage to go to school when he she has no place to live What about the predators and criminals Money Food We never know.If ugly realism is not of importance to you, Brooklyn, Burning might win you over with its lyrical prose, images of summer Brooklyn and music fueled young love.