Burn Baby Burn

Burn Baby Burn

Book - 2016
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Nora Lopez is seventeen during the summer of 1977, when New York is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam. Meg Medina transports us to a time when tempers and temperatures ran high to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780763674670
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 21 cm


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From Library Staff

While Son of Sam randomly shoots New Yorkers during the sweltering summer of 1977, Nora’s just trying to figure out her life after high school. She’s also dealing with a verbally abusive brother, a struggling single mom and a love interest at work while attending feminist rallies in her Cuban nei... Read More »

In the summer of 1977, disco infernos rage and Son of Sam stalks the streets of New York while Nora tries to figure out what to do about her abusive brother and her uncertain future.

From the critics

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May 25, 2020

This YA book is about New York City in 1977 through the eyes of a young hispanic woman. That was a great time of turbulance in the city. I like the book. It was part of Read Brave St. Paul.

Mar 18, 2019

1977 in New York was a scary place to be. This work of historical fiction gives the reader a good look at the time and place while introducing an engaging and sympathetic main character. I loved everything about the book except for a couple of anachronisms. Read it for yourself, and look for words and descriptions being used that did not come around till much later than 1977....

Mar 08, 2019

Medina does a wonderful job creating a strong, smart, and resilient Latina main character! This is an empowering and inspiring story about a teenage girl coming of age during the incredibly tumultuous Summer of 1977 in NYC. Teens will love it!

SPPL_ReadBrave Aug 28, 2018

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina is the 2019 Read Brave Saint Paul primary book selection. Set in 1976 Queens, New York, it is a compelling, coming-of-age story about Nora Lopez, a Cuban American teenager, finding her place in a city where residents experience violence, racial tension, and housing insecurity.

CRRL_AdrianaP Jun 07, 2017

Takes place during the Son of Sam serial killing, which was absolutely fascinating (and rather scary) to read about.

JCLMelodyMK Mar 17, 2017

The summer of 1977 was preceded by a sub zero freezing winter followed by a boiling summer with temperatures of 3 digits most of the time. This leads to a very volatile summer.
Nora Lopez a 17 year old living with her abusive 16 year old brother Hector and their mother Mima in a small apt. with no air condition in of the many Burroughs of New York City.
Growing up I had heard of the black out in NYC and the Son of Sam serial Murders.
Reading this book brought me much closer to this time in history.
A quick read that I had a hard time laying down. I would recommend this book to any age, teen up to 100.

Jan 05, 2017

Medina's tale of one teen coming-of-age during the summer of 1977 was oddly comforting and completely engrossing. Nora is a wonderfully authentic heroine, responsible yet flawed, smart enough to know when she's making bad decisions but realistically juvenile enough to make them anyway, and with a typical teen's view of the adults, both well-meaning and disappointing, in her life. The romance is not the main plot, and remains sweet and even empowering with Nora setting most of the boundaries, but I especially loved the strong female friendship at the heart of the story. Diverse female role models abound in this book, from Nora and Kathleen, two teens determined to own their futures, to Stiller, the African-American activist neighbor who alternately supports and clashes with Kathleen's Catholic feminist mother. In general, Nora's relationships (both supporting and challenging) with her community, from her boss to her teachers to her best friend's parents, contributed much to the story's strong sense of place. And New York in 1977 is really almost a supporting character here. Medina's ability to bring to life the heat, the fear, and the social unrest that characterized that time and place creates an immersive reading experience without ever taking away from Nora's story. And it's strangely reassuring to remember that our country has been through turbulent times before, and continues to move forward. Pairing this slightly apocalyptic setting with the story of a teenager on the precipice of independence and adulthood, struggling to define her place in her family and in her community, and unsure of the future, makes for a truly outstanding read. Sure to appeal to a wide range of teen readers, and great for discussions about family, social history, and relationships.

Apr 23, 2016

Bleak, but enjoyable.

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina is an engrossing coming-of-age tale about a Latin-American teen, Nora Lopez. Nora's home life is unhappy, she bottles it up while learning unsavoury things about her brother, and crushing on the new kid at work. Oh, and it's the summer of 1977 and David Berkowitz is on his shooting rampage around New York.

This was a good read, but not at all what I expected! I chose it based on the synopsis *after* plucking it off the shelf because of the awesome disco ball cover art and catchy title.

Burn Baby Burn doesn't take itself as seriously as the blurb suggests it might, so you end up with a tale about growing up and out of yourself. Also, I just love a good story about regular people on the grind.

Actually, nothing about the Son of Sam aspect of the story was particularly sinister, so I'd even recommend it to teens/young adults.


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Jan 05, 2017

chelseasc thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Apr 09, 2020

“Nothing ends. There is only transformation, ugly as it may be.”


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