Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Flash Burnout

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.

Beth says 4.5 Stars...

I actually picked this book after seeing a post on the blog of an author who I follow. The author (Lisa) has been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and the 2009 debs organized some things to show support for her. I honestly wasn't really sure what to think initially, because this isn't the sort of book I gravitate towards naturally. I wanted to like it, but that hasn't worked out in the past. Lucky for me, the book was really lovely and good outside of my desires. I will say that it wasn't a particularly linear plot that drove it. I didn't really see a clear path from beginning to end, but it somehow worked well enough to make me keep reading. That said, the plot really was the weak point because even though it moved forward it didn't flow as well as it could have. It's honestly the flaw that kept me from giving this book 5 stars. I'm not opposed to completely character driven novels (hello Nick and Norah), but there wasn't quite as much character growth as there needed to be to compensate for the lack of plot.

When I say that there wasn't enough character development I'm just being super nit picky. Most novels don't have anywhere near the amount of it that this one had, but then those book rely more on plot. Blake was an interesting character and I enjoyed being inside his head. I was really astounded at how well the author captured the voice of a conflicted teenage boy without making him irritating. His desires and internal battles could have easily fallen into the overbearing teen angst category but didn't at all. His struggles weren't epic or world changing, but they felt real and honest. Melissa was also a lovely character whose flaws got some serious air time. Although we could only see her through Blake's eyes, her combination of fragility and strength was beautiful to read. Though she's far from perfect, she seemed to be a real person making good and bad decisions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't something that I would have picked up on my own, but it was a really nice change of pace. If you want something well written, realistic, and aren't afraid of some sadness, grab this one. You won't regret it.
Book from Library