Today I read…burning from the inside

Burning from the insideToday I read burning from the inside by Christine Walde.

Anything is better than going home. Even working with the cops to get out of his latest graffiti charges. But then Thom finds out what they want him to do–go undercover and help them catch the G7, a group of socially conscious graffiti writers who have so far managed to elude the police. Not only will he be forced to narc on fellow artists, but for his day job he will be forced to buff–to remove graffiti, to cover it with grey paint until the walls are as dull as the people who live in between them. He can’t–but the only other option is to go to jail, or back home.

So Thom becomes TNT, the newest tagger in town. Creating art by night, by day he erases his own work. And then he meets her. Aura. Beautiful, talented, free-spirited Aura, so much like him. Aura, of the G7. She brings him into her world, and introduces him to the others: The DC. Kane. MC Lee. DJ O’d. Queen Mab. And their leader, Chef BS.

Together, Thom and Aura dream of finding the legendary Kalpa path on Tiger Mountain, the art left behind by Story, the greatest tagger the city has ever seen, who disappeared without a trace many years ago. But standing in their way is the police officer who secretly wants Thom to find more than just the G7–he wants Story, and he doesn’t care what happens to Thom as long as he gets her…


This is another of the books I got at the OLA Super Conference,and it was written by a classmate of mine from library school, Christine Walde. I knew she was a poet, but I didn’t know that she was also a prose author. At times the language she uses is so beautifully put together, you can tell where the poetry whispered in her ear saying don’t you miss me?

The point of view alternates between Aura and Thom, and in some ways they’re very alike. They’re both just so *frustrated*–Thom wants to make art, art that is seen and changes the world a little bit, and Aura wants to send a message to the world with the rest of the G7 that it needs to WAKE UP. Young frustrated idealism in the face of a cynical world that doesn’t want to listen–a timeless story. Thom and Aura would never work as older characters, because they would be more jaded–they need the impatience of youth to change the world.

The book also talks a lot about graffiti, what drives people to go out and do it even though it is illegal. Graffiti is a culture I have never experienced–probably because I have no artistic talent (alright, and I tend to be boringly law-abiding). I can’t even draw stick people well, and I admire people who do have that talent. There’s a sharp difference drawn here between those who scribble meaningless things with paint on public property and those who create art, who have a message and something to say in a public forum. The amateur and the professional graffiti writer, in a way. Both have their place, but buffing scribbles is a pinprick to Thom while buffing art is a wound. Christine gives a great interview here about graffiti and art.

burning from the inside reminds you what it was like to be young and need to express yourself so intently that you, well, burned with it–burn until you explode. Like TNT.

burning autograph

1 thought on “Today I read…burning from the inside

  1. Pingback: OLA Super Conference 2014 review | wadingthroughbooks

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