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While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer...
While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer...
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  • While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.

    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.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Meg Medina is the author of The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind and the picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. Her young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, won the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Richmond, Virginia.

    About Me:

    I don't think I could have grown up to be anything else but a writer. Not that I was especially talented at a young age, or that I knew any writers growing up in Flushing, Queens. No, I turned to writing because my family wouldn't stop talking. Ever.

    I'm part of a very ordinary Cuban family, which is to say, a meddling clan of aunts, uncles, and grandparents who are tireless storytellers. Stories are such a powerful way to remember and make sense of what happens to you in life—and plenty had happened to them by the time they arrived in the U.S. during the early 1960s. My parents left in the middle of a revolution in their country, and they arrived the way many immigrants do: with empty pockets, no language, and in shock.

    But they also knew the power of stories. Families need their own tales to survive hard times, and those stories are a rope that can attach even the youngest children to their roots. Stories help you learn all the things that really matter to the people who are trying to help you grow up.

    Whether my aunts were cooking a pot of rice and beans, mopping the floor, or just enjoying an afternoon coffee, they told me our stories. My head filled with pictures of my grandmother rolling cigars as a young girl; with pictures of Abuelo selling bicycles and building a school; with images of my delicate aunts wielding machetes in the sugar cane fields, their pants held up with rope. They told these events honestly and with pride and joy—sometimes losing themselves as they remembered the smells and sounds of home, maybe adding an extra detail or two. Sure, I read all the books my American friends were reading, but when I came home after school, my grandmother was always waiting with something really different and exciting—if I was lucky, maybe even inappropriate.

    "Did I ever tell you the story of the time the hurricane wiped out my village?" she asked me when I was six. "No? Oooosh. I can still smell the dead on the streets."

    See what I mean?


    That's why I'm an author. When I write today, I try to use as many of those scraps of true life in my work as I can, even the sad scraps no one likes to remember. I love honoring those tales because they rooted me and because they taught me that everyone's story is worth telling, and that every family has heroes. Sure, I mix them with more modern times and characters, but I always keep in mind how hard it is to be a kid who is American, but whose parents are from somewhere else. I try to give them the same rope.

    Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:

    1. I adore big dogs, even the kind with feet that smell like Fritos.

    2. I am shamelessly addicted to Milk Duds, despite pleas from my dentist.

    3. I dance a mean salsa.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 4, 2016
    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.

  • DOGO Books ellsworth2424 - I just finished reading this book, and I really liked it. It takes place in the late '70s in New York, when the Son of Sam was on the loose, murdering unsuspecting people. It was a difficult time in the history of New York (which I just learned, although my aunt remembers), and the main character was also facing challenges in her own family. I learned a lot from this book, not just about history, but also about standing up for what's right as well as yourself.
  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2016

    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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-It's the Summer of Sam, and Queens native Nora Lopez, 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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 15, 2016
    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 Lopez 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(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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