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Reviewed by:
  • Burnout
  • Deborah Stevenson
Vrettos, Adriennem Aria. Burnout. McElderry, 2011. [208p]. Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4169-9469-5 $16.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4391-6312-2 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8–10.

The “Nanapocalypse” is Nan’s word for the drunken meltdown that led to her stint in rehab. Since then she’s been on the straight and narrow, staying away from her troubled and charismatic friend, Seemy, with whom she did all of her drinking. That’s until last night, apparently, because now she’s woken up on the subway, decked out in a slutty Halloween costume with no memory of Halloween—or anything else—the evening before. Nan knows that a relapse will, if detected, destroy her restored prospects, but as she scrambles to slip back into her life before her bender is noticed, she begins to recall scenes from the previous night and to realize it wasn’t simply drunken carousing with Seemy—and that Seemy is still in grave danger. While the revelations about the previous night are pretty high on the sensationalism register (she and Seemy were drugged by men with nefarious intentions), it just enhances the Go Ask Alice allure of the story of a girl overinfluenced by a friend to the point of needing rehab. Vrettos deftly threads the tale of Nan’s piecing together her previous night into the flashback story about Nan’s relationship with Seemy, from the girls’ first meeting to anxious Nan’s growing adoration of Seemy and her willingness to do anything to be with her bold and troubled friend. While there’s taut suspense in the immediate story, it’s the sharply observed human dynamics of the relationship plot and the nuanced exploration of Nan’s spin out of control that make this story compelling. A quick and intense read, this should appeal to readers who like high stakes, psychological mysteries, and battles with real-life darkness.



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