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 ...moreSynopsis: 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.
Details: Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan, 320 pages, 3.84 stars on Goodreads
My Thoughts: You know those books where the narrator has this awesome, absolutely hilarious voice? The ones where even if you laugh a lot, it's not all about the funny, because there's really a wonderfully deep and complex story beneath it? Yup, Flash Burnout was one of them. I don't think the synopsis does this story justice, so let me try to summarize a bit.
Blake is, as you no doubt have figured out, the awesome, absolutely hilarious narrator. His voice makes the book easy to read and has you flipping pages just to hear him narrate more. It's hard to make me laugh out loud when I'm reading something, but I definitely laughed several times throughout this book. His girlfriend is Shannon, and outwardly, she's the best girlfriend in the world - she's beautiful, smart, and has about a bajillion friends. Blake honestly cares about her, but it's subtly hinted (or maybe not some subtly, depends on your opinion) that he likes her more for her body.
It's not a straight-out lust scenario, either. It's just that as he narrates about her, he talks more about how hot she is than anything else. Plus, Shannon isn't quite the most perfect girlfriend in the world, either. She makes a huge fuss over the smallest, pettiest things, like not speaking to Blake when he forgot to call her.
Then there's Marissa. At first, she and Blake are just friends-in-school, since they're the only freshmen in their Photography class, but then he takes a picture of a passed out woman. Marissa looks at it and realizes that it's her drug-addict mother. She finds her mom and brings her home, but things aren't that simple. As Blake helps her through the tough times, they become closer and closer, until one day...
You get the picture. I loved this book so much, and I would recommend it to anyone! The only thing I didn't like so much was the photography aspect - maybe it's just the books I've been reading lately (the ones I'm not going to review), but it feels like every book about healing involves either drawing or photography. There are other art forms out there!
Plot - 3/5 (It was well-executed but lacked originality)
Characters - 3/5 (I didn't feel as a strong a connection as I wanted but they were definitely multi-dimensional)
Writing - 4/5 (Great voice! Love the perfect blend of humor and drama)
Impact - 2/5
Inability to put it down - 3/5
Overall - 60% = B-
(Note: I apologize for the somewhat rushed review. I had a very, very, very long day.)