Monday, September 14, 2009

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him. When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).

In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

What made me decide to read Flash Burnout basically encompassed the photography aspect and the girlfriend + girl that is a friend. And thankfully those two aspects of the book were pretty satisfying, unfortunately they came with a few other things that were bothersome to me.

Let's start with the good, I loved how each chapter started with something related to photography, be it from a manual or Blake's homework and the way that photography was used to move the story forward. I would have loved to have seen Blake's and Marissa's photographs. They sound beautiful.

I also loved seeing Blake try and balance having a girlfriend he adored and that adores him (Shannon) and a girl that is a friend that really needs him (Marissa). The feeling of being torn and trying to do what's right for everyone is explored wonderfully in this book.

Another thing I really liked was Blake's family, his open-minded parents and his older brother, Garrett. I actually liked Garret at times better than Blake and his storyline about his friend with benefits Cappie. Would have loved to have seen that explored more.

While I liked all of that I did have some problems that distracted and took away from the good things in the book. Right off the bat I noticed Blake's slang and sort of annoying sense of humor, stuff like talking to Houston in his head all the time etc. I could have done without those types of things. And another thing that became rather bothersome for me was the way that Blake talked about his girlfriend Shannon and her body and touching her body. Yes, I know boys have hormones and they think about that stuff, but it was just too much for me and it made me sort of dislike Blake during those passages. Another thing I didn't find funny at all was that basically any time Blake mentioned Shannon's father he insulted him, I can understand insulting her mother but her father, he never did anything to deserve that!

Overall a nice coming of age story with some downsides that somewhat distracted from the story.

Flash Burnout will be released October 19th
Genre: Young Adult
3/5 Stars
ARC provided by Amazon Vine


  1. My boss has selected this as one of the Picks of the Year at the children's bookstore where I work, so I'll be reading this one soon. I'll try to remember to revisit your review once I have read the book.

  2. The book sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's for me.


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