Copy obtained: bought, pb
Released: Oct 2009
Saturated self-portrait: Blake, a nice guy, class clown, always trying to get a laugh, not sure where to focus.
Contrast. Shannon, Blake's GF. Total. Babe. Marissa, just a friend and fellow photographer. Shannon loves him; Marissa needs him. How is he supposed to frame them both in one shot?This is a slightly strange book in some ways, but it's completely fantastic! It took me a little while to get in to it, but once I got used to Blake's voice, I was hooked. Blake is 15, happy to have a very hot girlfriend in Shannon, and then one photo changes things. In his photo class, he and Marissa talk a lot and as normal, he shows her some of his work he's done before the teacher asks for it. In one photo is a woman, that woman, unknown to Blake, is Marissa's mom. From there things start falling apart. Blake realises Marissa needs him, but Shannon wants him. And he's caught between the two, unsure how to manage either one.
I love the reality in this book. Blake's clueless innocence about girls; how he struggles with Marissa's situation not really wanting to be a part of it, but wanting to be a good friend; how he struggles to deal with Shannon and Marissa together. Plus I love his family, that there is a strong parental role and a solid relationship with his older brother as well. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this story, they're all really well drawn. Marissa's story is one that's gritty and real as well, even though we only see it through Blake's eyes.
The whole book is a strange balance of humor and serious. It's very serious in some aspects dealing with some tough subjects, particularly in the second half. But I lost count of how often I laughed out loud as well. And maybe even more surprising was the way I could go from laughing out loud at something that was said or happened one moment, to aching for Blake or Marissa the next. Like a snap of the fingers, I was the opposite emotion. And it's not harsh or jarring, it just works.
Flash Burnout is wonderfully written. Smart, careful, so funny and very, very honest. It's surprisingly brutal in some respects, and surprising in general. It was not what I expected, but I found it very refreshing for that fact. The tension builds and builds right up to the end. There are some surprising twists, a few very unexpected choices. The characters grow through the book, learning from what happens to them and it's fantastically done. And the ending...just wow. Completely unexpected, and yet it fits perfectly! I loved this book so much. It kind of broke my heart. Flash Burnout is excellent read and I highly recommend it!