Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Pages 208
Source: Purchased

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 that she doesn't remember putting on. 

Nan is not supposed to wake up in places like this anymore. She’s different now, so 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 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. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I read Burnout during a readathon a few weeks ago and I cannot stop thinking about this book. It is terrifying. Seriously. In many ways. Nan has just woken up from a night of partying (which she doesn't do anymore or does she?) and she can't remember what happened. She's in a too small dress, her face is painted like a skeleton, which on the surface would seem humorous like a bad prank being played after passing out. But I know that's not the case. As I read I was afraid to find out what happened that led her to this situation because I just knew it wasn't going to be good. And it wasn't, it was horrible.

There is a lot packed into this compact book - it is a story about toxic friendships, obsession, peer pressure, pushing limits, and a need for acceptance. I liked how the storytelling alternated with chapters titled "Today" and "Remembering" showing how Nan's friendship with Seemy/Samantha developed. Nan's was just beginning to come into her own at the same time she met Seemy. Seemy influenced how Nan saw herself so much that Nan began to believe she was becoming who she was only because of Seemy. Without Seemy, she was less than good enough (or so she thought)

I don't think Burnout tries to teach a lesson. It's not a D.A.R.E. message - stay in school, don't do drugs. This is book that I would loved to have read as a teen but I'm not sure how I would've comprehended it during that time of my life. I was a pretty cautious teenager, but I did have my moments and found myself in some sketchy situations. I don't know if it would have scared me then as much as it does now

This is a book that will stick with you long after reading it. It is fast-paced, eye-opening, and thought provoking. A must read for teens.


  1. Woah, this book seems hardcore. My friend really talks about it a lot, I just never got around to asking about it. It seems like a modern Go Ask Alice. I really loved that as a kid, but I read it when I was in about 4th or 5th grade and was too young to really comprehend it, but this is the kind of story I would've loved.

  2. I've been dying to read this one. It sounds so intense, which I always love.

    Thanks for your review! :)

  3. I'm torn...I'm so hooked by the description, but I have a feeling the ending might be too sad for me! Thanks for the great review.

  4. Kandee - I couldn't imagine reading Go Ask Alice in 4th or 5th grade. This book does have some slight similarities but doesn't really compare. I do recommend it if you like edgy reads.

    Amanda - if you can get a copy - READ IT!

    Kristin - There were so many highs and lows to this book, but please don't let the fear keep you from reading it.


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