Dear L. K. Madigan,

Flash Burnout – L. K. Madigan – 336 pages

“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.”  –from

Flash Burnout sticks out in my mind as a book I can’t quite decide about.  I picked it up because something about it caught my eye, but then put off reading it for a while because the blurb on the back wasn’t capturing me as much as other things in my pile.  I think I felt the same push and pull while I was reading, too.  There were definitely great moments of humor, and a plotline that took a lot of really exciting turns, but sometimes the prose seemed to drag for me a little.  Still, my overall impression of it was a good one–you captured the dynamic of teens and friends and more-than-friends really well.  Sometimes I felt like the narrator was less a real teenage boy and more a cobbling-together of what a teenage boy is expected to be, but that’s forgivable, and I think what Flash Burnout really needed was just a little bit of sharpening to make a really thrilling plot into a more memorable reading experience.  Still, I read it through, and enjoyed it, so three stars for this one!



Wanna check out this title for yourself?  Try the Indie Bound or ABC bookstore finders!


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