Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Flash by Michael Cadnum

Flash by Michael Cadnum

Flash by Michael Cadnum. Pub. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010.

If you have never read a Michael Cadnum novel then you have missed out badly. He is one of America’s great writers for teens and he tells great stories particularly of young people in the tough and changing urban environment.

In this novel there are five teenagers and all of them have a history of pain in their home life, their social life and with their career aspirations.

Milton and Bruce are brothers who have lost a father and in life they are the equivalent of Dumb and Dumber without the humour.

Milton plans a bank robbery and his dare devil brother pulls it off. Things do not go well after the robbery as three other kids known to them, are witnesses.

Carraway is just back from Iraq after being wounded and his sister Mina, who has aspirations to be a photographer, clock Milton and Bruce getting away. Carraway is a stickler for keeping the law and must get involved.

Terrence a legally blind boy who collects bird sounds for LucasFilms is Mina’s boyfriend and he witnesses Milton and Bruce hiding the evidence. Milton and Bruce decide he has to die and all hell breaks loose in a stunning ending to the novel.

Cadnum’s writing is vivid and evocative. The tone of the novel is aggressive and he writes this in the setting of San Francisco Bay and in the contemporary economic climate of hardship and a hangover from the ill conceived War in Iraq.

The theme can be summed up in this exchange between Carraway and his sister Mina. “At any given moment what matters is who has the money” and the reply “sometimes what matters most is who has the gun”

Brilliant story for teens and reluctant boy readers.

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