Sep 9, 2011

Flash Burnout

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
Published: October 19,2009 by Houghton Mifflin

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.

       Overall this book is a very quirky and realistic look at a 15 year old guy's life. But that comes with a lot of annoying, girl-obsessed thoughts that kept me from liking this book more. Despite having a title and chapter intros about photography, that aspect of the story takes a backseat to Blake's confusion over the 2 girls in his life. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • small quirky details- The Dog Formerly Known as Prince, references to Dr. Who, the Houston mission control in Blake's head...all these details really help to make this story stand out from other contemporary books.
  • Garrett- he's a typical big brother- picking on Blake constantly just because he can, but he has Blake's back when it counts
  • Blake's mom- she's very welcoming of Marissa and her mom, tries not to pry into Marissa's life, but worries about and cares for this girl she's just met- the kind of person Marissa wants her mom to be
  • Marissa- all she wants from Blake is for him to photograph her mom, she never asks for anything else, she just tries to do her best in life and help her mom out
  • realistic- none of the characters are perfect, Blake's not a devoted boyfriend all the time, not everything is perfectly tied up- there are loose ends in life and this book reflects that

Huh, what?:
  • Shannon- I really felt like she was never given a fair chance with readers as a character. Despite being Blake's girlfriend (who he is supposedly in love with) all we get of Shannon is that she's a butt and boobs who randomly decides to make Blake's life miserable for no reason.
  • Blake's head- Blake, Blake, Blake...if this is what guys' heads are like I'm running for the hills. Just kidding. It wasn't all bad, just really confusing at times. Blake's actions never back up his feelings, especially when it comes to Shannon. He loves her but he basically ignores her and only thinks about her when he's looking at her. And all those thoughts are of course about her body.
  • Marissa's decisions- Marissa is really sweet and trying to live her life despite her mom's crazy behavior, except she sometimes gets carried away with trying to save her mom from herself and doesn't consider how worried her friends or family will be if she disappears for a few days.
  • Cappie- I'm not sure what purpose Cappie is serving in this book. She's simply an on-again, off-again girlfriend of Garrett's whose a jerk to Blake (and Garrett sometimes too). 

Favorite Quotes:
  • Houston and I concentrate all available brainpower on analyzing the selection of necklaces.    - pg.  170
  • Was it really just this morning that we snuck into the morgue? This day wins the grand prize for random.    - pg.  253

4 robots
A realistic look at life from a talented author

L.K. Madigan's blog has been taken over by her husband since she passed away earlier this year due to cancer. If you are a fan of her books and want to donate to a fund to make sure her son gets to go to college, head over there to find out more.

Acquired: Bought

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