Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Title: Burnout
Author: Adrienne Maria Vrettos site
Format: Hardcover, 193 pages
Published: 9/13/2011
Publisher: McElderry Books
Source: Library

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 different now, far from that dangerously drunk 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 way. 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.
How it starts:
Nan wakes up on the subway. She is disoriented, not sure how she got there. She’s wearing a too small plastic dress and skeleton makeup she can’t remember putting on. What happened? She’s hasn’t had a drink since rehab. She didn’t go back on her promises, did she?
I really liked Nan for the most part. Obviously she made some bad decisions, but she really grows throughout the book. Perhaps her most admirable trait is how she begins to take charge of her life, even though it means leaving friends behind. She starts out as kind of desperate for friends, which leads her to making some bad choices to keep the few friends she does have. Just going with the flow for kinship. I think this something most people can understand and relate to. I know I can.  Nan goes from being the person others want her to be, into her own person. She makes a very strong and believable protagonist.

I loved the beginning. The “Prologue” reads only this, “This is a ghost story. I am the ghost”. Those first sentences really drew me in. It’s a great attention getter.  Burnout is very well paced. It never left me bored. It was almost a thriller, with Nan putting together the pieces of the night before. Wondering where her friend is.  Is she even still alive?
Burnout alternates between “Remembering” and “Today” in its chapters. “Today” being the present, and “Remembering” which fills in the past for readers. Although alternating between past and present isn’t anything new, I really like that it was made clear which was which. In other books, I get frustrated when I can’t figure out what’s going on.  I also wanted to point out that even though this book is under 200 pages, it doesn’t feel too long or like a short story. In most shorter books, the story feels too rushed. I’m glad to report that this wasn’t the case in Burnout.

I had originally checked this book out by mistake. (I thought it was Shut Out by Kody Keplinger) It turned out to be a happy mistake. I really enjoyed Burnout. From the characters to the plot, I was fully entertained.  I don’t understand why I haven’t heard about this book anywhere else. I found it to be an interesting and thrilling portrayal of a girl struggling to find the strength to look into her past.  I give it 4.5/5 stars and recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction. It’s also a great liter Halloween read, as it takes place the day after Halloween. 

This is the part where I get down on my hands and knees and beg you to leave a comment. Come on, it'll only take a minute. Got a post of Burnout?  Be sure to leave a link so I can check it out!


  1. Ohhh this one does sound awesome!!!! I'll have to check it out! It's sort of reminiscent of Mara Dyer, which was AWESOME, so yes. I'm intrigued :)

  2. i read this book but i don't understand the ending.. can anyone explain what happened in the last chapter..