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Cher-y-lynne {sher-uhl-lin} –noun 1. One who formerly sold and recommended children’s books at a bookstore; a specialist in young adult, middle grade, and picture books. 2. A para-educator at a middle school. 3. A struggling young adult writer. 4. A lover of chocolate and popcorn. Archaic: An Audiology and Speech Language Pathology major at Brigham Young University. Questions? Suggestions? Books you'd like me to review? E-mail me at cherylynne1 (at) gmail (dot) com.
This is a blog for my ranting, raving, and occasionally brilliant opinions. You have been warned. Enter at your own risk.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review: Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

I join Marissa in the pizza line. "What's up with Shannon?" she asks.

"I don't know. I guess I forgot to call her for the hundredth time, or something." Then I instantly feel like a traitor. "Nah, we just had a misunderstanding."

Marissa's so easy to talk to, I sometimes wish we had hooked up. But it's not that way with us. We're always going to be just friends. I still remember our first assignment in intro photo: shoot and print a series of black-and-white portraits of another member of class.

As the only ninth-graders, Marissa and I were paired up by default. We took the city bus up the hill to Washington Park, where we shyly pointed cameras at each other. Studying her through the lens, I realized that she had the most heartbroken eyes I'd ever seen. You don't notice them most of the time--she's usually smiling.

Madigan, L.K. Flash Burnout. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2009.

Blake is trapped in the place no guy wants to be--between a jealous girlfriend and a friend (that's a girl) who needs him. He feels an obligation to his friend Marissa, since he was (sort of) a catalyst to the life crisis she's in, but on the other hand, he's pretty sure he's in love with Shannon.

The writing is incredible. The character is witty and engaging and insightful. I loved it. The decisions he has to make are difficult, almost impossible at times, but his choices are consistent with his character and the overall plot. It's laugh-out-loud funny at times, but I was shocked or nearly moved to tears at others. And even though it's a woman writing it (kudos to L. K., by the way, for pulling a J.K. and hiding the fact that she's a woman so boys will want to read it too) it's very much a male voice, reminiscent of Chris Crutcher style. And the character is just so darn likeable. It's hard to make male protagonists likeable unless you don't let them make any mistakes. Blake makes plenty of mistakes (PLENTY) and yet we're still cheering for him, and we still love him.

But then we come to the end. *sigh* That has to be the most unsatisfying ending I have ever read in all my life. Seriously. Everyone is sad or pissed off or something. And then it's just over. That's it. I started checking around me on the floor, trying to see if some of the pages had fallen out. They hadn't. That's just the way it ends. So plan on taking some time after you read it to write your own ending. I did. And everyone lived happily ever after in mine, because I wanted it that way.

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