From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Fifteen-year-old Blake believes he has the perfect set-up a gorgeous girlfriend (Shannon) and a friend who shares his love for photography who just happens to be a girl (Marissa). But a chance photo op of a street person begins the unraveling of his happy situation when Marissa realizes that the passed-out woman in the picture is her meth addict mother. It's impossible for Blake to be the friend Marissa needs while being the boyfriend Shannon wants. While many of the storylines are traditional sibling rivalry, boy-girl love, lust, and drama (and a high-school setting replete with cafeteria and parking lot scenes) Madigan also introduces the unexpected. Blake's parents are strong, loving, and likable (his dad is a medical examiner who occasionally brings his work home, his mom is a hospital chaplain); his teachers are engaged, empathetic, and human; his girlfriend works at not being jealous while his friend-who-is-a-girl respects that relationship, but it all ends badly. With just enough humor to diffuse the tension and the art and science of photography as a backdrop, this rich romance explores the complexities of friendship and love, and the all-too-human limitations of both. It's a sobering, compelling, and satisfying read for teens and a promising debut for a new young-adult author.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2009 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 9 Up-High school sophomore Blake is quick witted and keeps track of how many times he makes someone laugh each day. His new girlfriend, Shannon, is somewhat possessive, but with frequent imaginary pleas to "Houston" for help, Blake is learning to navigate the galaxy of BF/GF relationships. Complicating matters is his friendship with Marissa, a girl in photo class with whom he has become involved because he unknowingly photographed her meth-addicted mother passed out on the street. After a particularly emotional episode involving her absent parent, Blake and Marissa have consensual sex. When Shannon discovers this and the playful nude photos of Marissa on Blake's camera, she abruptly ends the relationship. "Actions have consequences" is a lesson that his parents have been teaching him all his life. Blake's parents play a significant role in their sons' lives, teaching them about safe sex, ethical issues, discipline, and helping others. These model parents are easily contrasted to Marissa's mother, yet they are very human and have their own idiosyncrasies. All of these aspects of the story are tied together by appropriate but sensitive dialogue; beautifully developed, diverse characters; an unblinking pace; and intelligent humor. An exceptional novel, Flash Burnout is thought-provoking on many levels.-Sue Lloyd, Franklin High School, Livonia, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.