Created by Laura Abbott

Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan

Madigan, L. K. Flash Burnout. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, 2010. 336 pages. pap. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-547-40493-6.

Annotation: Witty sophomore Blake Hewson has a beautiful girlfriend named Shannon and a really good photography friend named Marissa. The problem is one of them loves him and one of them needs him and he cannot please both.

Summary: In Madigan’s debut novel, humorous sophomore Blake Hewson has just gotten a first time girlfriend. Shannon is beautiful, funny, and a little possessive. Blake also has a very good friend named Marissa who is his cool photography buddy. Always ready to make people laugh, Blake divides his time between both girls. He is in love with Shannon but Marissa needs his help dealing with her meth-addicted mom. Tensions increase as both girls need more of his time and attention. After an emotional incident with Marissa, Blake ends up having sex with her. Shannon finds out and is so hurt that she dumps Blake. Marissa ends up leaving for Seattle. Blake is left to contemplate his decisions and realizes he has failed both girls.

Evaluation: This is a compelling novel that analyzes the conflicts between being a boyfriend and a friend. Questions concerning love and loyalty, actions and consequences, and life and death are explored. The book’s diverse primary and secondary characters, compellingly realistic teen problems, and humorous relief make this a novel of substance. Because there was no neatly wrapped ending, this novel mirrors life; we all have some loose threads to trim because of the consequences of our actions. Recommended for ages 14 to 18.

Genre / Subject: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Dating, Photography, Identity, Romance, Family, Friendship, Choices, Abuse

Awards: 2010 William C. Morris Award, 2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults