Summary: 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.
My Review: Historically, the summer of 1977 was chaotic and filled with dear, looting, and arson. David Berkowitz, otherwise known as the Son of Sam, was killing couples out on dates. New York had one of the biggest power outages in history which led to mass rioting and many arson fires were lit that summer.
The book centers around Nora Lopez who lives in Queens and is counting the days until she turns 18 and can get a place of her own. Her brother Hector, who always had troubles, gets deeper involved with a bad news neighbor and begins to get physically violent with Nora and her mother. Nora has nowhere to turn for help. Her Mother refuses to see how bad Hector is and her father has remarried and has all but forgotten his family. She doesn’t want to tell her best friend because she is ashamed of her life. She doesn’t want to be thought of as a lowlife or less than especially since her best friend has a wonderful family life.
Much of this book is centered around fear: fear of the Son of Sam who was going around killing people, fear of her brother, fear of her unknown future. Nora is a very resilient character through most of the book and begins a romance with a boy who works at the same store as she does.
The end wrapped up a bit too quickly and easily in my opinion. The drama of her family was drawn out for so much of the book, that to be resolved in about a chapter bothered me. It was too neatly tied up with an optimistic ending. I didn’t mind the hopefulness of the end, but all the things that happened seemed really convenient.
Natalie’s Review: 3.5/5