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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Flash Burnout

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pub. Date: October 19th, 2009
Pages: 320
Age Level: 14+
Source: Bought

Synopsis via Goodreads

Telephoto lens. Zoom. In a shutter release millisecond, Blake’s world turns upside down. The nameless woman with the snake tattoo is not just another assignment. “That’s my mom!” gasps Marissa.


Saturated self-portrait: Blake, nice guy, class clown, always trying to get a laugh, not sure where to focus.


Contrast. Shannon, Blake’s GF. Total. Babe. Marissa, just a friend and fellow photographer. Shannon loves him; Marissa needs him. How is he supposed to frame them both in one shot?


Chiaroscuro. Lightdark. Marissa again, overexposed. Crash and burn.

Talk about negative space.


Humorous, honest, and full of photographic awesomeness, Flash Burnout is a fast-paced, page-turner of a story and I did not want to put it down.

Blake was a blunt, realistic, and hilarious riot of a character who's personality rang brilliantly true. I connected with him immediately and even when he would make some not-so-wise decisions, I still couldn't help hoping everything would turn out alright for him in the end. Shannon, Blake's girlfriend, was a bit to hot-and-cold for me at times and while she was a great supporting character, I didn't really feel much connection with her. Marissa, Blake's friend, on the other hand, I really loved. She was funny, fairly laid back, when she wasn't having to deal with her mom, and an all-around dynamic, well developed character. I have to admit though, what she did at the end took me for quite a shock. Garrett, Blake's brother, and Cappie, Garrett's *sings Secret Lover*, were two surprising and well done supporting characters. Garrett starts out as a real jerk but I get to see the softer side of him slowly revealed throughout the book. He really is just like an older brother in that he teases Blake mercilessly but, when it really counts, he's sure to have Blake's back. Cappie is a roaring...well...bitch, to put it quite frankly; while I hated her at first, I got this glimmer of nice-ness from her towards the end and she kinda grew on me. Plus, she definitely spiced things up. I also thought that Blake's parents were very believable and I was glad to see they frequented the story.

Flash Burnout had a very well-crafted and keenly-imagined story line. The quick pacing never faltered and I never once felt as though the plot were dragging. While some of the twists were a bit, I'd like to think, inevitable, they still caught me off guard even when I saw them coming. I absolutely loved the huge role photography played and it has left me feeling inspired, something I haven't felt about my photography in a long time. Each chapter starts off with either a quote from a photographer, photography book, or a definition from Blake's photography homework. I could tell Madigan probably thought a lot about what was chosen to head up each chapter and her hard work showed. The two playlists at the end were also a welcome addition. Now I've got some new songs to find.

I'm very impressed to see how varied L.K. Madigan's writing styles can be. In The Mermaid's Mirror the writing was beautiful and flow-y; however, in Flash Burnout, Madigan's writing style proved to a bit grittier as well as cunning. She used a first person narrative this time and I'm so glad she did. One thing that is pleasantly consistent about her writing style though is the authenticity of the context and dialogue. Also, with both books, the protagonists' family has been very obviously 'there', unlike in a lot of YA books these days. I can tell this is a woman who deeply loves and cares about her family and I feel that really shines through in her writing.

I was not a big fan of the ending and I feel that it is the one thing that kept me from absolutely loving this book. Everything just felt so unsettled and unresolved for me. I haven't heard anything about there being plans for a sequel. If there was going to be a sequel, preferably from Marissa's view point, I probably would have really liked the ending, but instead I'm just left wondering. Though I have to admit, there is still a part of me that kind of likes the roughness of the ending. Sometimes that's just how things are in life but I can't help wanting more.

Flash Burnout is a witty, bittersweet story that I would very highly recommend to guys and gals alike. It's not hard at all to see why Madigan was awarded the William C. Morris Debut Award for this excellent novel! I'll definitely be reading this one again in the future.

Characters: A-
Writing: A-
Plot: A-
Ending: B-
Enjoyment/Likability: B+
Recommendable: A-

Overall: B+/A-

Cover: B

If this review has got you wanting to read this great book and you are considering buying it, which I recommend, you'll want to check out this CONTEST on my blog to support L.K. Madigan. There are some totally fab prizes you can win!


Mariana S said...

Looks really good, it was on my list, but its nice to read more about it and being more interested in the book!! Nice Review ^^

-Mariana S

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I'm so happy I bought this one because it sounds like the perfect book for me. It also helps that I'm a fan of photography. I'm not at all thinking about it professionally, but I do enjoy to pull out my Rebel and take some shots.

Great review, Briana! Madigan's writing sounds so much like something I'd enjoy. And I love boy POV, so I'm uber-excited to read this.

BookGeek said...

I really wanted to read his book. It looked so intriguing with the summary! Great review, too.

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Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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