Thursday, July 14, 2011

REVIEW: Flash Burnout by LK Madigan

Flash Burnout by LK Madigan is an incredibly funny and emotional read. I had almost no expectations of the book before I read it and if I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure if I knew what the story entailed before I picked it up. What really sold me to the idea of reading Flash Burnout is the emotional outpouring of blog posts that I read following the death of the author. I think this book and LK Madigan really touched a lot of people and I felt like I needed to be part of that.

I'm very glad that I picked up this book. LK Madigan did an excellent job of getting into the head of a teenage boy's head and of writing his voice so authentically and in such a funny way. And there's so much to love about Flash Burnout, from photography to a quirky radio DJ, a great relationship between brothers. For me, a funny guy is all it would take for me to pick up a book, but Flash Burnout also contains this huge emotional dilemma which gets our main character, Blake, into so much trouble.

Blake is a pretty typical 15 year old boy - he's interested in photography and making people laugh. He's a little baffled but thrilled to have a hot girlfriend, Shannon. His family is fantastically weird - his mother is a chaplain, his father a medical examiner. It's not uncommon for Blake to find photos of corpses or skull saws littering the dining room table. But the juxtaposition between funny and serious is an absolute joy to witness within the pages of this book.

Because for a photography assignment, Blake unwittingly takes a picture that has much more meaning to his friend, Marissa. This one picture sets off a chain of events that pulls Blake into something that's very serious and it connects Blake and Marissa on a very emotional level. And Blake has difficulty balancing out the new form his friendship with Marissa and how it affects Blake's relationship with his girlfriend.

LK Madigan tells this story with real honesty and emotion. It can get quite messy, lines are blurred, the characters make surprising choices with difficult consequences. And through it all, I was laughing one minute and close to tears the next. This book is heartbreaking and real and utterly surprising. I loved every single word! Very highly recommended.


  1. It is such a shame she passed before her career really took off. I hope to read The Mermaid's Mirror soon.

  2. This is already on my to read list along with The Mermaid's Mirror based on all the blog posts and twitter chat I've been reading. Great review, this sounds like a great book.

  3. Vivienne - It really is a shame! I'm hoping to read Mermaid's Mirror soon too.

    Jenni - It really, really is. I hope you read it and love it just like I did :)

  4. Dear Clover,
    thank you for your insightful review, and kind words. In addition to F.B., and T.M.M., Lisa had 2 completed manuscripts (currently without contract to publish) that are companion to Flash Burnout. I'm hoping that there will be enough interest to bring them to life. Only time will tell their fate.

    Neil Wolfson
    Portland, Or.

  5. Thank you so much for the comment Neil. I sincerely hope that those books will be published, it would be a real shame to miss out.


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