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BURNOUT by Adrienne Maria Vrettos Kirkus Star

BURNOUT

By Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-9469-5
Publisher: McElderry

A high-school junior falls in with a reckless companion who leads her into a dangerous lifestyle in this gritty, suspenseful character study.

Nan thinks she might be a ghost. She wakes up in a subway train with no memory of how she got there. It is the day after Halloween, and she’s wearing a bizarre dress and skeleton makeup she can’t remove. Vrettos divides chapters between “Today” and “Remembering,” as Nan begins to piece together the events that led her to that subway. She hasn’t seen her alcoholic best friend “Seemy” for six months, ever since Nan got out of rehab and promised not to drink again. As the story advances, readers learn more about the nonconformist lifestyle the two girls enthusiastically embrace as well as Nan’s insecurities. The author continually maintains an atmosphere of intrigue, however, as readers begin to see that Nan herself really isn’t as extreme as her actions. When Nan’s memory finally returns, the story becomes a suspenseful life-and-death chase. It all adds up to an insightful portrait of a girl who loves her family but has hit her rebellious stage and has spun out of control; it's a superb character study of a courageous girl trying to find her way.

Stark, compelling, perceptive: a winner. (Fiction. 12 & up)