Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan gets into the mind of fifteen-year-old Blake who is struggling to balance his perfect girlfriend Shannon and his photo partner and friend Marissa who happens to be a girl. After taking a photo of a worn-down, drug addict on the street for his photography class (Blake always sticks to gritty photos), he discovers more about Marissa – that woman was her missing mother. As Blake learns more about Marissa, their relationship changes, and Blake begins to realize that though love and romance are confusing, friendship isn’t necessarily any clearer. While he works to perfect his photography, he realizes it takes just as much work to balance the two most important females in his life that couldn’t be more different.
L.K. Madigan blends comedy with more serious matters perfectly in Flash Burnout. Blake’s dilemmas feel real to the reader, and I must say I laughed at some point during nearly every chapter is this novel. L.K. Madigan does a superb job getting into the mind of a teenage boy – a task many young adult authors have tried without as much success – as Blake’s thoughts feel authentic. This book is fast-paced and, despite its length, easy to read in one sitting because it’s so hard to put down. The references to the craft of photography, especially the tips found at the beginning of each chapter and in the title itself, add to the parallels in Blake’s life and enrich the reader’s experience. The only time I was let down was the very ending of this novel which felt rather abrupt. I wish Flash Burnout had gone further in time and not ended so suddenly, so that the reader could feel more closure with the characters. 8 out of 10.