Wednesday, 7 October 2009

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB OCT - Flash Burnout by L.K Madigan

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub. Date: Oct 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 322
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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.


To be very very fair, Flash Burnout wasn't one of the best books that would impress its each and every single reader, however; there was something about it that was very provoking and alluring that I couldn't resist. And I'm not saying this because I fell in love with this book at first look either.

Flash Burnout went into the subject of conflicts between love and friendship. If you're wondering whether Blake's story could help you work out all everything to have balanced relationships then I'm sad to say that it won't. L.K Madigan didn't set up a sticky situation and as well tried to find a perfect solution to it. In fact, what I found was simply what a person may go through at least once in their life and how it affected him afterward.

From what I read in the synopsis, I assumed that there would be a kind of intensity I had to brace for but no, it wasn't even close. The mood of the book, surprisingly, was fun and light. There were plenty of jokes, smiles and hugs and kisses - those that made you feel good instead of heavy-hearted or painful. The girlfriend and the friend, most of the time was never on bad terms with each other. There was mostly no jealously, catfight so if you expect those thing, you can get them out of your mind now. The story just went on like a life should, if anything, there wasn't really a major problem waiting to be worked out.

The characters of Flash Burnout was the part that got me thinking the most. I thought that I understood them, then again, like I didn't know them at all. At first Blake struck me as a curious and fun teenager who loved to entertain people and couldn't get his thoughts (or hands) off his girlfriend. But as things progressed he seemed very deep. Sometimes I thought he cared a lot of about people, sometimes he was overwhelmed with his own feelings he might act selfish and mean. And his love for Shannon, even thought he kept repeating to himself that he was truly deeply in love with her, I wasn't quite convinced. Blake was, in other words, very inconsistent. He was this and then he was that. Perhaps that was what made him so interesting. I liked Marissa too, I just wished that she wouldn't be too sweet and vulnerable. Shannon's personalities felt flat for me, though.

The ending was...Well, I don't think I have a way to put it into words. It was exactly on the line separating the breathtaking endings and totally-mess-up-the-whole-story ones. It didn't contain a lucid message like "I finally realized that blah blah blah blah." Personally, I thought the whole book was to portray a small but not less important part of life - how we grow up from our decisions, our mistakes and all the things we had with the people that we've crossed path with.

If you trust me, I think you should read this book (and will like it). And did I mention that the photography was fun and inspiring?

Rating: 4/5

6 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

It seemed that you were somewhat ambivalent so I was surprised to see the 4/5 rating.

Barrie said...

There are definitely times when I want an ending that doesn't tie everything up neatly.

Keri Mikulski said...

Ah.. Endings. :)

Kathy Holmes said...

Oooo... sounds intriguing!

prophecygirl said...

I just got this today - it sounds really good!

lkmadigan said...

Thanks for your review, Thao!

L.K.