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Flash Burnout is a perfect YA book. Well, the story is perfect. I’m not digging the cover so much. And, while the jacket copy was clever, it didn’t give me an accurate sense of the story – the frame of the story, yes, but the heart of the story, no. I may not have read this book if it hadn’t have won the Morris award.

This is definitely going into the “I Wish I Wrote This” category. The humor was so exactly my kind of humor, the struggle was so wonderfully relatable. I hugged the book, and talked to Blake-the main character-and laughed with him as if he were present. I really felt like we were in this thing together. It was a wonderful feeling.

LK Madigan found ways of describing life and making her characters struggle that made me feel like we had the exact same values. Either we did, or she’s a tremendous writer. Maybe both.

I found out while reading this that LK Madigan was suffering from pancreatic cancer. I think it made the book even better. Reading her last blog post where she makes peace with her own mortality, had me weeping well into the night, and touching my own family’s realness a little more than usual.

LK Madigan died this past week. I almost didn’t want to finish her book. But I did. And I read this passage where Blake is describing his girlfriend whose grandmother passed away: “I glance over at Shannon, who is sitting a few feet away in a sunny spot with Kaylee and Jasmine. Her grandma’s funeral was last week. She’s back at school now, cheering up little by little. Sometimes when she laughs at something, I see a look cross her face like, How can I laugh when my grandma just died? But people die. All the damn time. We have to grieve and then keep living.”

I feel exactly like that.

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