1970s -- fiction
It’s 1977, and New York City is in chaos.
After a freezing winter, the summer’s stifling heat has everyone on edge. Poverty is on the rise, and the city’s finances are in ruins. Arsonists set buildings on fire, seemingly at random, while a serial killer nicknamed Son of Sam shoots dark-haired young women and their companions on the street.
In Burn Baby Burn, Meg Medina brings these notorious events to life with the story of Nora Lopez, a 17-year-old high school senior living in Queens. Though she's living through a horrific period of New York history, Nora is just trying to make it through to graduation and escape her disastrous living situation.
It’s the summer of 1975, and Raymie Clarke has a plan. Two days earlier, in the greatest tragedy of Raymie’s life, her father ran away from home with a woman who was a dental hygienist. But to make things right again, all Raymie has to do is learn how to twirl a baton, enter the Little Miss Central Florida Tire pageant, and win. Then her dad will see her picture in the paper and come home . . . right?
British author F.R. Tallis has always been fascinated with electronic voice phenomena, also known as EVPs. Through these recordings, it is believed that one can pick up otherwise unheard spirit voices, a method long popular yet controversial with paranormal researchers. Sometimes EVPs seem to pick up vital information on the subjects’ past, revealing disturbing events that could have led to their demises. At other times, the recordings have proven to be completely useless and false. The fascination continues, however, as Tallis says on his website, “A ghost that has been objectified by technology is altogether more convincing and subsequently a great deal more frightening.”
In Tallis’ recent novel, The Voices, Christopher Norton, his wife Laura, and their young daughter Faye move into a beautiful Victorian house in London during the stifling summer of 1976. Norton discovers that the size and location of the home is perfect for his career as a film score writer. He finally has the opportunity to build his own sound recording studio. But as the hot summer nights wear on, Laura begins to hear slight knocking sounds on Faye’s baby monitor. Then come the mysterious, unearthly voices that crackle through the speakers.
If I Ever Get Out of Here centers around Lewis Blake, a Native American teenager in a gifted junior high program. Lewis might be academically successful, but he has no friends. All his white classmates don't have much to say to Lewis, and all of the kids from the reservation are just in the regular classes.
It is 1976, and living outside of Buffalo, New York, Lewis wonders if the area's teachers are going to be surprised when they find that the Native American kids are not that excited about the country's Bicentennial celebration. His family has called this land "home" for much longer than a mere two hundred years.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman, is a touching blend of family drama and otherworldliness. He wrote it for his wife, who does not care so much for extreme fantasy, and so he decided to include many realistic details from his own childhood. But he enriched that beginning with dark and horrific drama, as well as beauty and wisdom, and ultimately gave it an elemental, magical grounding.
Summer is almost here and many children will be heading to camp. Most parents try to find a camp that will speak to their children’s interests or talents. In the year of the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation, six campers at an arts camp called Spirit-in-the-Woods decide to call themselves, with typical teenaged self-absorption, The Interestings. At camp, everybody gets a trophy for participation, but once they pass through the door into adulthood, who will be ones to keep up with their talents and who may be the one to show it to the world?
In its first chapters, Sweet Tooth begins like Dickens’ David Copperfield. Serena Frome (rhymes with Plume) tells of her unremarkable childhood and how she ends up working as a spy for Britain’s MI5. With her blonde and beautiful looks, she is a bit of a Bond Girl and wreaks havoc on the men around her.
A good all-around student, Serena devours novels and wants to do an English degree in a small university, but her housewife mother, in an uncharacteristic fit of feminism, tells her she has a chance of making something of herself by going to Cambridge and doing “maths.”
A nubile co-ed is missing from the same small, rural Mississippi town where another young woman had disappeared twenty-five years earlier—the mystery unsolved, her body never found. So begins Tom Franklin’s stellar novel, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.
Socially-awkward Larry Ott was 16 years old when Cindy Walker, both beautiful and popular, asked him out on a date. That momentous occasion—at least through Larry’s eyes—was the point when his young life began a downward slide from which it would not recover. Walker was never seen again. Although no evidence was ever found connecting him to the girl’s disappearance, the townspeople unanimously convicted Larry without the benefit of any trial. Shunned and taunted, he became the local pariah.