Rating: 5/5 Stars
Release Date: 10/19/2009
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About the Book: Blake has a girlfriend and a friend that's a girl. There's a delicate balance between the two, but everything seems to going OK. But when Blake takes a photo of a homeless woman and finds out that it's his friend Marissa's long-lost meth addicted mom, their friendship slowly starts to change. Blake finds himself caught between two girls-one who needs him and one who loves him-and finds himself learning who he is in the process.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Alright I'm warning you-there will be gushing in this review!! I LOVED Flash Burnout-like totally and completely fell head over heels for this book loved it. This book had everything I could want-a great narrator that I could relate to and an authentic male teen voice, a delicate dance of friendship and romance, a bit of mystery, fantastic character growth, and one of the best YA family's I've read about in a long time.
I think I have a book crush on Blake. His voice is just so authentic and real and he's easy to relate to. He has a great sense of humor and his wry observations about life are great to read. I love that he wants to be a comedian and keeps track of how many times people laugh at his jokes-it's just another fun characteristic that made Blake really stand out to me. Major kudos to the author (who if you didn't know is a girl) for pulling off such a convincing male narrator.
I really liked that while there are two girls in this book that Blake is dealing with, it's not really a love triangle. It really is the story about Blake, his girlfriend, and his friend that's a girl and the delicate dance of relationships they all deal with. The author makes all three characters likeable and you feel for Blake as his dilemma grows. There are moments when I wanted to yell at him because I knew what was coming-I was so invested in his relationship with both Marissa and Shannon.
Blake's family is amazing! It's so hard to find a great family in YA-either the parents aren't there, they're too embarrassing or quirky and the teens don't like them, or they never talk to their teens. OK, so maybe that's not a huge thing for a lot of teen readers, but as an adult who reads YA that's a big deal to me-I like seeing positive adults in YA. Blake's parents are quirky and yes, he's embarrassed by them, but he also wants to talk to them. And they're involved in his life, but not overly protective. He has a very realistic love/hate relationship with his older brother. You knew this was a family that liked each other, valued each other and their time with each other, and that really made the book stand out. I had the same type of relationship with my parents as a teen (I still do) so it's refreshing to see a narrator in a YA novel that spends time with their parents and parents that make time for their teens. Blake's parents are going into my "parents I want to be like when I have teenagers" collection.
The only thing I didn't like was that I read this book just recently. I was at ALA when L.K. Madigan was signing books fresh off her Morris win, but wasn't able to stop by. Now I'm sad I missed her-I hope I can meet her at a future ALA!
Overall, Flash Burnout is a fantastic read. Blake's story is one that once you start, you won't want to stop. I wanted to finish it in one sitting but also wanted it to draw out so it wouldn't end. Seriously, if you haven't read this one, get your hands on it. This is a perfect example of how YA contemporary novels should be written.
Book Pairings: Pair this with any of John Green's titles, fans of John Green's books should enjoy Blake's voice, this could also pair well with Gordon Korman's Born to Rock-both feature characters coming into their own
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook purchased from Audible