I received this book in the mail from Walker Books Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I didn't have high hopes for this as the synopsis didn't sound too thrilling. However, I finished it in a day because I was really intrigued with the story line. This is what I thought;
"Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous year 1977 in New York.
After a freezing winter, a boiling hot summer explodes with arson, a blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who is shooting young people on the streets seemingly at random.
Not only is the city a disaster, but Nora has troubles of her own: her brother, Hector, is growing more uncontrollable by the day, her mother is helpless to stop him, and her father is so busy with his new family that he only calls on holidays.
And it doesn’t stop there. The super’s after her mother to pay their overdue rent, and her teachers are pushing her to apply for college, but all Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. There is a cute guy who started working with her at the deli, but is dating even worth the risk when the killer especially likes picking off couples who stay out too late?" -Goodreads
CHARACTERS: The main character, Nora, is going through a hard time throughout the book. Her father has left her, her mother and her brother to look after his new family, her mother is in a deep state of depression and can't afford to pay the bills, and her younger brother is a psychopath who verbally and physically abuses Nora and her mother. However, this doesn't get in the way of Nora living her life to the fullest. She is working hard at a local restaurant to be able to move out and go to college next year.
Despite what Nora experiences throughout the book, she is a lovely character who I loved to read about. She is strong, independent, and doesn't let her life situations get in the way. I loved reading about how she handled certain situations. I especially loved her interactions with Pablo. Although we don't get to know too much about Pablo except for his interactions with Nora, I loved reading about the two of them together. They definitely had their ups and downs, but they always found their way back to each other and I think that was lovely to read about. However, I would have loved for Medina to go into more detail on Pablo and his relationship with Nora, and also Nora's bestfriend.
Nora's brother, Hector, is crazy. He loses his temper at the tiniest things, isn't grateful for his mother or sister, and is the complete opposite to Nora. However, Hector was an interesting character to read about and he definitely added a lot of drama to the story line. I would have also loved to learn more about him before the book ended.
PLOT/ STORY LINE: I really enjoyed the story concept of the book, and it is different to anything that I have read before. As mentioned earlier, it follows Nora as she experiences the shootings and fires occurring in her home town. This drama, suspense, and mystery added so much to the story line that I can't even think of what genre Burn Baby Burn would fall under; mystery, contemporary, or psychological thriller. I think it definitely had aspects of all three. I have never read anything similar to this before and so it was exciting to venture into this new category. I also loved that it was set in the 70's in New York. I as the reader was definitely able to gather a great sense and interpretation on what it was like for the people and characters of this time.
The intensity of the story line made this book a page turner; explaining why I finished it in a day. The constant suspense and thrill almost forced me to keep turning the page as I was eager to find out what was going to happen to the characters in the book and the story line. The plot and the way the story unfolded would have to be my favourite aspect of the book.
ENDING: Despite really enjoying the overall plot of the book, I was slightly disappointed with the ending. Although it concluded all the events and revealed a lot of information, I felt as if it was skimmed over quickly and the readers were not given as much detail as I would have liked. However, I did love the last chapter of the book where Nora was able to accept her life and come to terms with what she needs to do in order to fulfil her life plans and goals. Nora is able to rekindle relationships that she, and the readers, thought were long gone and I think this was a good note to end on. However, I was still not satisfied with how I was left with discovering the serial killer and arsonist.
RATING: I decided to give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I loved reading about the characters and their relationships with Nora, and I found the overall story line really intriguing and I was constantly interested in what was going to happen next. The only factor that brought the overall rating down was the ending which did not leave me feels satisfied.
I highly recommend this book to lovers of YA, mystery, light factors of contemporary, 70's era, and New York. I really enjoyed this read and I'm glad that I got to experience the story thanks to Walker Books.
YouTube review soon to come; youtube.com/readbooksread
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