Burn Baby Burn

Burn Baby Burn

It's the summer of 1977, New York City, and Nora Lopez is fighting for her life.  She's holding down a job at a local store, ducking the creeps who hang around her neighborhood and watching her mother turn a blind eye to the violence and dysfunction her brother Hector is wreaking on their family.  Somewhere across town Nora's father has started a new life with a new wife.  He calls periodically and seems to believe he's doing right by Nora despite the fact he has no idea that her life is spinning out of control, her brother is getting more and more dangerous and her mother's job which pays their rent is unraveling to the point of disappearing.

In the middle of all of this chaos Nora may be falling in love.  He's the new guy at work who has to do all the hard jobs and he's a college guy.  Nora is finishing her last year of high school, stuffing money into a shoe deep in her closet, and staying afloat by spending time with her best friend and her family.

With the Son of Sam roaming the streets of Queens, Nora and her girlfriend have a tight curfew and a sense of something sinister lurking in every dark corner of their neighborhood.

Romance, painful family relationships, a young teenage boy ratcheting up his violence and rage as his mental illness consumes him and a mother who refuses to see reality are the backdrop for Nora's 18th birthday.  Is freedom possible for her?  Does she have a future?  Or will the rest of her life take her down in the same spiral that has sucked her parents and her brother down into desperation?

A book about resilience, hope and never, ever giving up.

320 pages   978-0763674670    Ages 15 and up

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York 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. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit — and the hardest to accept.--from the publisher

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