Naked '76

424p. ebook available. Carolrhoda. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781512404180.
Gr 10 Up—Brooks, author of the controversial The Bunker Diary, here offers the story of a teenage girl who becomes involved in the fledgling punk rock scene in mid-1970s London. Lili Garcia, a talented musician, falls in with Curtis, an aspiring punk rocker. Curtis is extraordinarily talented himself and is passionate about his music. He is also driven, self-centered, and occasionally cruel. Lili joins his band and enters into a sexual relationship with him, even as she recognizes his flaws. A mysterious young man with an Irish accent also joins the band. He calls himself William Bonney, and Curtis immediately dubs him "Billy the Kid." Curtis taunts William but is clearly intimidated by the self-possessed Irishman. Lili becomes fascinated with William and begins a relationship with him, ending the one with Curtis. Despite the tensions this creates within the band, they achieve recognition, sign a record contract, and seem destined for success. William's involvement with radical politics leads to tragedy, however. Iconic figures and events of the punk rock movement are integrated into the narrative in a seamless manner; William's involvement in the IRA is somewhat less so. The author clearly has a deep appreciation of punk music, and in Lili he has created an engaging and sympathetic narrator. It seems questionable, however, whether teens will have sufficient interest in the development of this musical genre to make it to the end of this 400-page novel.
VERDICT A beautifully written and genuinely moving work for avid fans of musical YA fiction, historical fiction, and the author.

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