Synopsis: Steve Brezenoff's gorgeous, sad, and hopeful Brooklyn, Burning is a love letter to Brooklyn, a love letter to music booming from the basement, and most of all, a love letter to every kind of love (but especially the punk rock kind).
I don't know how to explain how wonderful this book is without understating or overstating. Which makes it even more incredible, it escapes words. The story itself is an understatement, making it a raw portrait of a human being captured through the smoky haze of a warehouse fire, cigarettes, and dingy bars. It's brilliant and powerful.
This is a book that has needed to surface. It is narrated by Kid, a homeless teenager suspected of burning down the historical warehouse used as a home for the homeless. Since the warehouse burned down, Kid has been living underneath Fish's bar. When Scout comes along, Kid falls in love. Neither Kid nor Scout's gender is revealed. It reads almost as a love letter from Kid to Scout, giving readers a glance into the mind and heart of almost too-private a moment.
Naturally, I tried to figure out genders. While it's very clear that Kid is an LGBT character, I still tried to figure it out. I was telling myself that the point of not gendering the characters is to demonstrate that gender is only a label. I was still trying to label the characters when I realized that there's more to this concept. It's because you put your own genders, labels, on the character they are more personal to you. Then, when you realize they could be any gender, you as a reader could be as well. This is a demonstration of acceptance that stuns me.
The book comes out today. Get your hands on a copy as soon as you can. I foresee this book becoming a classic. I believe it will join the cannon that holds To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. This story has what it takes to both mark time, and transcend it.
Finally, I want to point out that Kid is homeless due to being kicked out of his house because of his/her sexuality. This is an issue I had not previously considered and I thank Steve Brezenoff for bringing it to light. It's tragic.
Love is love.
That's all there is to it.