Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan
Reading a first novel of a new writer is always exciting for me. This one had special appeal because it is the winner of the 2010 William C. Morris Award for debut novel, from the Young Adult Library Services Association, beating out Beautiful Creatures, which I adored. Totally different from the paranormal romance of BC, this novel tells the story of high school sophomore Blake. What’s unusual about Blake is that he has two important girls in his life: his new girlfriend the beautiful Shannon and his best friend Marissa, who he knows really needs a good friend right now. On one hand, Blake is busy trying to figure out how this boyfriend/girlfriend business works (“Houston, we have a problem!” he says to himself when he totally blows it). On the other hand, he takes an amazing picture of a homeless woman downtown, and she turns out to be his friend Marissa’s meth-addicted mom, who is evidently back in town.
While this book is your typical high school drama in many ways, it’s also somewhat unusual. Blake’s parents play a crucial role in his and his older brother’s lives, always trying to stress that “Actions have consequences,” in addition to being warm and supportive. In contrast, Marissa’s mom is basically out of her life, in and out of rehab while her grandma raises her. And something very unexpected happens between Blake and Marissa, which could change their relationship completely. But I don’t want to give too much away…
I’d give this book a 4 Stars out of 5. I can’t wait to see what Madigan writes next. BTW, you can check out her website @ http://www.flashburnout.com/.