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Click to search this book in our catalog Burn Baby Burn.
by Medina, Meg

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Nora Lopez is 17 in 1977 when New York City faced one of its most horrific summers in history. A serial killer called Son of Sam was on the loose, shooting innocent couples; the city faced a blackout complete with looting; and arson was rampant. Nora's brother Hector is illegally dealing drugs and physically abusing his mother, Mima, and Nora. Their father is practically out of the picture, unreliably sending checks and calling only on the holidays. Nora works at her neighborhood deli, helping the family to make ends meet. Just when Nora's fear and panic peaks, she meets new hire Pablo. While Nora is not ready for a relationship, one quickly forms. Ashamed and embarrassed, Nora hides secrets about her family from Pablo and from her best friend, Kathleen. Medina uses Nora's story to seamlessly connect readers to an unforgettable period in history, the setting leaving readers thirsting for more information about the summer of 1977. The character development is tight and accurately constructed. Medina holds nothing back, shedding light on the characters' flaws, which teens today will be able to relate to. Medina is on point with the teen voices, evoking their intense fear, panic, and dreams. VERDICT A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections, especially where Ruta Sepetys's books are popular.-Erin Holt, Williamson County Public Library, Franklin, TN © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly As high school graduation nears, Nora López and her best friend Kathleen are looking forward to going to the beach, dancing, and being free. But that's hard when Nora's mother expects her to keep an eye on her out-of-control younger brother, Hector, and run interference with her absent father-and a serial killer is on the loose. Nora is strong and believable, a possible romance has heat, and Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) gets gritty 1977 New York City right: feminism and disco in the air, Son of Sam, and-come July-the blackout and the ensuing looting and fires. The weak spot is Hector: he's invariably angry and increasingly violent, and the book falls into a cycle of petty (and not so petty) crime, disbelief, and realization. Fortunately, the other elements in this coming-of-age story are elegantly and eloquently explored: the difficulties of finding a place to make out with a serial killer around, the new opportunities opening up for women, and Nora's growing ability to envision the life she wants. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* It's 1977 in New York, and almost-18-year-old Nora is about to graduate high school and is saving up for her own place. Of course, it's not as easy as just moving out. Her Cuban immigrant mother, who only speaks Spanish, relies on her to navigate everyday life. Meanwhile, she coddles Nora's firebug younger brother, Hector, whose short temper is getting more violent by the day. No matter what Nora tells her mother, she does nothing about Hector and faults Nora for his delinquency, and, before long, his terrifying, uncontrollable rages become too scary to handle on her own. Medina artfully links Nora's escalating domestic turmoil with the infamous summer of 1977, marked by blackouts, sweltering heat, racial tensions, arson, and the Son of Sam killings, all of which simmer menacingly in the background. Medina weaves historical context throughout Nora's first-person narrative, expertly cultivating a rich sense of atmosphere while still keeping her characters sharply in the foreground. Nora herself is wonderfully multifaceted hardened by responsibility, delighted by disco, crazy about the handsome boy at her job, and, all the while, stalwart and determined to make her life on her own terms. Powerfully moving, this stellar piece of historical fiction emphasizes the timeless concerns of family loyalty and personal strength while highlighting important issues that still resonate today.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book In this vividly evoked coming-of-age story set in 1977 NYC during the oppressive heat wave, seventeen-year-old Nora Lspez faces an insecure future after graduation. The very real fear of an at-large serial killer is magnified by violence at home, and Nora's mother barely scrapes by. Nora is an empathetic character; Medina depicts her troubled family and their diverse Queens neighborhood with realistic, everyday detail. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-It's the Summer of Sam, and Queens native Nora López, 17, does not want to end up as his latest victim, but as her older brother, Hector, spirals out of control at home, danger may be closer to Nora than she thinks. Medina's re-creation of 1977 New York City is a feat previously untold, from racial and class tensions to the relentless summer heat to the devastating citywide blackout; this is historical fiction at its best and most original. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A Cuban-American girl comes of age in Flushing, Queens, in 1977, against the backdrop of the Son of Sam murder spree. It's the summer after graduation, and Nora Lpez and her family struggle to make ends meet. She works part time at a local deli, but her mom has her hours cut at the local factory where she works. Her ne'er-do-well brother, Hector, has stopped going to school and instead spends his time doped up selling drugs on the street. Readers can sense the danger growing around him with every menacing flick of his Zippo. Things change, however, when Pablo, a new guy in town, shows up at the deli where Nora works. Their romance makes the summer even hotter even as a serial killer stalks the neighborhoods of Queens, picking off teen girls and their dates in the middle of the night. Rooted firmly in historical events, Medina's latest offers up a uniquely authentic slice-of-life experience set against a hazy, hot, and dangerous NYC backdrop. Rocky and Donna Summer and the thumping beats of disco, as well as other references from the time, capture the era, while break-ins, fires, shootings, and the infamous blackout bring a harrowing sense of danger and intensity. The story arc is simple, however: a teen girl, her family, her best friend, and her new boyfriend live through a summer of danger. An important story of one of New York City's most dangerous times. (Historical fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The audio version of Medina's newest novel opens up with an upbeat Latin tune that will most certainly promote listening. However, the setting of this book is far from upbeat; it's set during one of New York City's most violent summers-1977-the "Summer of Sam." Nora López, a 17-year-old living with her mother and brother, is forced to face her fears and secrets during this dangerous time. The situations are real, and the issues are sensitive-domestic violence, drug use, and the looming threat of a serial killer on the loose-as are the conflicts that plague Nora and her family. Narrator Marisol Ramirez does an outstanding job of making the characters come alive. Listeners learn of the ERA and feminist movement and see the characters dealing with issues of sexism and sexual harassment. VERDICT Sure to spark strong reactions and discussions, Medina's novel offers a genuine story of growing up amid difficulties and hardships. ["A devastatingly intense story, this work is a must-have for all collections": SLJ 2/16 starred review of the Candlewick book.]-Sheila Acosta, San Antonio Public Library © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Field Trip to the Moon
by John Hare

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Hare's picture book debut is a winner. His wordless tale in acrylic paint depicts a typical class field trip to the moon-the school bus ship, the trek across a gray lunar surface, the leap over a big chasm, a lecture on craters, and the one kid who lags behind. In this case the kid who lags behind is armed with crayons and a sketch pad. After wandering off to sketch the Earth and accidentally napping, the child awakens to discover the bus ship leaving! Despite some initial panic, the youngster settles in to draw and wait for its return, unknowingly attracting a crowd of gray aliens fascinated by the colored crayons. A hilarious fun fest of aliens drawing-on paper, on rock, on one another-ensues until the bus returns and they fade back into the moon dust. The happy reunion is marred only when the teacher notices the drawings on the rock that the child must remove before they leave. It is only on the final page that the face of the protagonist is revealed to be that of a dark-haired girl. Hare flawlessly and convincingly depicts the emotions of his characters - the desire to draw, the panic of being left behind, the joy of being remembered, and everything in between-all while they are wearing space suits with black, opaque face shields. His gray yet surprisingly detailed moonscape is both the setting and a character in its own right; his depiction of the aliens as gray humanoids amazed by color is genius. -VERDICT A beautifully done wordless story about a field trip to the moon with a sweet and funny alien encounter; what's not to like? A must-have for most libraries.-Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In this wordless picture book, schoolchildren are transported to the moon on a space shuttle resembling a bus, and one space-suited child discovers that, although the moon has been explored, there is always something new to discover. While the other kids stick to the field trip itinerary, this child finds a quiet spot to sit with some crayons and draw the Earth and is thus accidentally left behind. As the bus disappears into space, the child resumes coloring, which draws out a group of gray rock-like moon people who humorously interact with the crayons, doodling on themselves as well as a nearby boulder. The fun ends when the bus returns and the moon people hide, each still holding a crayon. Homeward bound, the child (whose gender is undefined) uses the only remaining crayon a gray one to draw a picture of the moon people. A perfectly paced paean to imagination, Hare's auspicious debut presents a world where a yellow crayon box shines like a beacon.--Karen Cruze Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn't as lifeless as it looks.While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare's wordless but cinematic scenesas do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayongray, of courseleft in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Told through wordless spreads, a classroom of child astronauts takes a yellow school bus rocket to their destination. One student lags behind the others, sketch pad and crayons in tow, and finds a quiet moon rock to sit behind while drawing (and napping). In a gaspworthy moment, the young astronaut realizes that the ship has left. But the consummate artist continues drawing, attracting the attention of a small group of friendly aliens—whose skin tones perfectly match the dusky gray of the moon’s surface and who marvel at the crayons’ varied hues. Readers may have mixed feelings about the eventual rescue (the aliens seem like a lot of fun), but a final spread showing the child’s face for the first time (a shaggy-haired kid with just a single gray crayon left) makes the story all the more relatable. A clever and noteworthy tale of lunar adventure. Ages 4–8. (May)

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New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow
by Gabrielle Zevin

Library Journal When Harvard junior Sam Masur encounters estranged childhood friend Sadie Green on a subway platform, she initially ignores him but then relents. And a good thing, too, for they end up collaborating on video games that soon bring them fame and fortune. But however perfect those digital worlds, the sorrows and duplicity of the imperfect real world await. From the New York Times best-selling author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Zevin (Young Jane Young) returns with an exhilarating epic of friendship, grief, and computer game development. In 1986, Sadie Green, 11, visits a children’s hospital where her sister is recovering from cancer. There, she befriends another patient, a 12-year-old Korean Jewish boy named Sam Masur, who has a badly injured foot, and the two bond over their love for video games. Their friendship ruptures, however, after Sam discovers Sadie’s been tallying the visits to fulfill her bat mitzvah service. Years later, they reconnect while attending college in Boston. Sam is wowed by a game Sadie developed, called Solution. In it, a player who doesn’t ask questions will unknowingly build a widget for the Third Reich, thus forcing the player to reflect on the impact of their moral choices. He proposes they design a game together, and relying on help from his charming, wealthy Japanese Korean roommate, Marx, and Sadie’s instructor cum abusive lover, Dov, they score a massive hit with Ichigo, inspired by The Tempest. In 2004, their virtual world-builder Mapletown allows for same-sex marriages, drawing ire from conservatives, and a violent turn upends everything for Sam and Sadie. Zevin layers the narrative with her characters’ wrenching emotional wounds as their relationships wax and wane, including Sadie’s resentment about sexism in gaming, Sam’s loss of his mother, and his foot amputation. Even more impressive are the visionary and transgressive games (another, a shooter, is based on the poems of Emily Dickinson). This is a one-of-a-kind achievement. Agent: Doug Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (July)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal In her latest, best-selling novelist Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) creates a story about the wild ups and downs of friendship and love. It opens with Sadie keeping her sister company during cancer treatments at the hospital, where Sam is anticipating surgery on his badly mangled foot. When they meet in the hospital game room and play a computer game together, a nurse asks Sadie to come back for more gaming with Sam. More than 600 hospital visits later, they have a fight and don't speak again for six years. Finally reconnecting as college students in Boston, they begin designing games together, and Sam's roommate, Marx, helps them launch and run a business they call Unfair Games. Their first game is a big success, which unfortunately brings out the worst in each of them. As the business expands, so do the jealousies and disagreements, even when they become a couple. Eventually, their relationship is tested by tragedy. VERDICT Zevin creates beautifully flawed characters often caught between the real and gaming worlds, which are cleverly juxtaposed to highlight their similarities and differences. Both readers of love stories and gamers will enjoy. Highly recommended.—Joanna M. Burkhardt

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus The adventures of a trio of genius kids united by their love of gaming and each other. When Sam Masur recognizes Sadie Green in a crowded Boston subway station, midway through their college careers at Harvard and MIT, he shouts, “SADIE MIRANDA GREEN. YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY!” This is a reference to the hundreds of hours—609 to be exact—the two spent playing “Oregon Trail” and other games when they met in the children’s ward of a hospital where Sam was slowly and incompletely recovering from a traumatic injury and where Sadie was secretly racking up community service hours by spending time with him, a fact which caused the rift that has separated them until now. They determine that they both still game, and before long they’re spending the summer writing a soon-to-be-famous game together in the apartment that belongs to Sam's roommate, the gorgeous, wealthy acting student Marx Watanabe. Marx becomes the third corner of their triangle, and decades of action ensue, much of it set in Los Angeles, some in the virtual realm, all of it riveting. A lifelong gamer herself, Zevin has written the book she was born to write, a love letter to every aspect of gaming. For example, here’s the passage introducing the professor Sadie is sleeping with and his graphic engine, both of which play a continuing role in the story: “The seminar was led by twenty-eight-year-old Dov Mizrah....It was said of Dov that he was like the two Johns (Carmack, Romero), the American boy geniuses who'd programmed and designed Commander Keen and Doom, rolled into one. Dov was famous for his mane of dark, curly hair, wearing tight leather pants to gaming conventions, and yes, a game called Dead Sea, an underwater zombie adventure, originally for PC, for which he had invented a groundbreaking graphics engine, Ulysses, to render photorealistic light and shadow in water.” Readers who recognize the references will enjoy them, and those who don't can look them up and/or simply absorb them. Zevin’s delight in her characters, their qualities, and their projects sprinkles a layer of fairy dust over the whole enterprise. Sure to enchant even those who have never played a video game in their lives, with instant cult status for those who have. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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