Gateway Mondays: Don’t Hate the Playa

Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan

Blake is your average teenager.  He has a girlfriend named Shannon who he hangs out with after school, he takes photography,  and he bums rides off his older brother and parents.  As his relationship with Shannon gets more and more serious, he also becomes closer to his photography class partner, Marissa.  It turns out her family situation is not ideal and Blake becomes involved in helping her cope.  He remains committed to Shannon until one day he gets caught up in a moment with Marissa and things go a little too far.  Not wanting to ruin his relationship with Shannon, he attempts to cover up his transgression.  He doesn’t do a very good job of it.

A few plot threads that promise to have some importance, like Blake’s brother’s relationship with the school radio DJ, end up not going anywhere.  Blake is a standard, sometimes annoying, narrator who gets involved in a love triangle despite his wishes.  The fallout from his “mistake” quickly leads to a somewhat unpredictable ending, although it’s also a little abrupt.

Gateway Mondays is a weekly series in which we feature staff book reviews of this year’s Gateway Award Finalists. Learn more about this Missouri teen choice award.

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