Book Review

MELODY BURNING
by Whitley Strieber

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Young Adult

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Science fiction bestseller (Communion, The Wolfen, The Hunger) Strieber makes his YA debut with a far-fetched, paint-by-numbers tale of a boy lurking in a glamorous Los Angeles high rise and the teen pop star (think Miley Cyrus with a hella bad stage mom) whom he falls for and swears to protect. The author has said his wife gave him the idea for the story, and many of the plot points will resonate with fans of Edward Scissorhands and other “wild child” romance narratives. But there’s not enough fantasy to sustain the notion that a boy could live undetected in a building for 10 or more years, let alone slip into various lofts and apartments for food, water and TV viewing.

After his father is thrown off the roof of the new Beresford high rise building, a young boy hides deep in the bowels of the structure. He doesn’t recall much about how he got there, nor why he calls himself Beresford. When teen rock star on the rise Melody McGrath moves into the 50th-floor suite with her mother, Beresford stays close to her, listening through the walls.

Melody is struggling to cope with her manipulative stage mom and a burgeoning career. At first when she hears the boy in the walls, she is frightened and angry. That changes when they meet on the rooftop and make a connection. But Melody and Beresford are in danger. The owner of the high rise harbors a secret that threatens their newfound love as well as the lives of the residents of the Beresford. Can they save each other? (HENRY HOLT, Dec., 224 pp., $16.99, ISBN: 9780805093278, HC, 12 & Up)

Reviewed By: Liz French

Publisher: HENRY HOLT

Published: December 2011

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