Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenhoff

Apr 19, 2012

Brooklyn, Burning is the story of a homeless teen named Kid who falls in love with another kid named Scout over the course of one glorious Brooklyn summer.  Unfortunately, Kid spent the previous summer head over heels for Felix, and after learning the painful lesson that loved ones leave, Kid is desperate not to fall in love again.  It doesn’t help that Kid is a prime suspect in a warehouse arson case.  Being a teenager with a family that rejects you is hard, but on the plus side, you can make your own family when blood fails.

Told in second person through a series of letters Kid writes to Scout, the book is a slim two hundred pages of literary magic.  Not a single word is wasted, giving volumes of characterization to the supporting cast of characters through scant actions and sparser description.  It’s a clean little novel of heartbreaking beauty.

I am not a fan of romance novels.  I also don’t care much for realistic fiction, preferring all types of speculative fiction.  This little book of teen romance set in the real world opened up the top of my skull and poured in rainbows and tears.  If you like the craft of writing, if you like love stories, or if you’re just curious how you can write an entire book without once using the words “he” or “she” to describe the two main characters, then this is a book for you.  Whether you like it or not, you can come discuss it in April and May at Bookbent.

Reviewed by Library Staff