Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Title: Burnout
Author: Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Year Published: 2011

Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 193
Rating: 4 out of 5

Challenges:
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (New York)


FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): On the day after Halloween, nan wakes up in a subway car. She is not dreaming. She doesn't know where she's been or what she's done. She's missing a whole day from her life. And she's wearing skeleton makeup and a too-small Halloween costume. Nan is not supposed to wake up in places like this anymore. She's a different girl who hit bottom in the Nanapocalypse. she needs to find out what happened to her, and fast. As she tries to put together the pieces of the last twenty four hours, she flashes back to memories of her previous life. But she would never go back to her old friends and her old ways. Would she? The deeper Nan digs, the more disturbing things get. This time, she may have gone one step too far. This time, she may be a walking ghost.

Review: I was excited to read this book as soon as it arrived in the library, but a student got to it before me so I had a little wait. I love that the new books fly off the shelves; it validates that I am choosing the right thing for our student community.
  • Cover--I liked the cover of this book when it arrived, but once I started reading the book I didn't like it as much. Nan, the main character is described as overweight and "sturdy", with an XL not being quite big enough for her. So how come the girl on the cover probably wears a size 4? Also, she is supposed to be hooked on drugs and alcohol and this girl just has thick black eyeliner, but otherwise looks good. I know the author didn't have any say in the cover photo, but I wish publishers would be true to the books
  • Plot--For the first 40 pages I was confused, but now that I've finished the book I think that the author was trying to portray a sense of Nan's confusion when she wakes up on a subway in odd clothing. Nan has no idea what has happened and neither does the reader. Once I got into the rhythm of the book and figured out chapters are either what is happening (they are titled "Today") or Nan remembering bits of her past (titled "Remembering") the confusion disappeared and I liked it better
  • Ending--The student who read this before me said the ending was too quick for her, but I didn't think so. I think when we try to remember what happened to us, memories come slowly at first and then start to avalanche and that's just what happened to Nan. As she realizes the truly scary reality of what happened to her on Halloween, it all comes rushing back and she realizes she needs to act NOW or there will be dire consequences.
  • Issues--This book deals with the issue of teen drinking, but in a way that is different from most books on the subject. Through the Remembering chapters we learn about Nan's family, her love for her little brother, and how she started drinking (after meeting her friend Seemy). Through the Today chapters we see the effects of Nan's Halloween "adventure" with liquid gold, something I had never heard of (I tried Googling liquid gold and only got one result that referred to illegal drugs. The description of the effects wasn't really like the experiences in the book, but I don't know what the real name of the drug is). And, given the vivid descriptions of her black outs, physical and mental experiences, I hope I never encounter anyone on it! I think this is the books' power: what can happen when someone (and let's be realistic, probably a girl) isn't paying attention and allows herself to be taken advantage of.

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