Skip to main content

Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted

Review

Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted

Melody Carlson is clearly on a roll with this edgy, in-your-face series for teens that focuses on specific social, emotional and spiritual struggles. In this fifth installment, main character Amber Conrad takes a spin on the wildest ride of her high school life. At the outset, she stands at a podium deadpanning the typical AA confessional statement everyone has heard a million times: "Hello, my name is Amber Conrad and I'm an alcoholic." Chided by her best friend and fellow Christian, Simi, Amber turns the weak jab at sounding humorous into a self-defense keep-your-opinions-to-yourself stance. Having only attended one high school party where there was alcohol in abundance, Amber doesn't understand why her friend is so concerned.

Making the excuse that she only went to the party in order to "witness" her new popular friend, Claire Phillips, Amber feels the first of many twinges of guilt --- for stretching the truth to her best friend, and for lying to herself. It doesn't take long for Amber to fall further from her convictions and away from her friends as she justifies with the very lamest of excuses her absences from youth group, lack of concentration at school, and tardiness to work. Why shouldn't she enjoy her last couple of months as a high school senior? Why shouldn't she go to parties? Why not drink and have some fun? Who cares if she's underage? She's not hurting anyone, right? These questions abound as Amber tries to condone her increasingly reckless behavior.

To complicate matters, Amber attempts to calm and quiet her conscience regarding Claire's clearly alcoholic tendencies toward addiction. In Amber's defense, she does occasionally voice her concerns to Claire who seems oblivious to her own condition. Yet, even after getting violently sick from overuse of alcohol, Amber also seems hooked --- transported to another plane of living where she can be outgoing, free, funny, and fit in.

Sadly, it takes a monumental life-altering tragedy before Amber wises up and begins to make amends with family, friends and God. As is frequently true in life, simply being sorry cannot undo the damage a series of escalating mistakes sets in motion, and Amber finally realizes this life truism --- too late. Teens will appreciate the temptation to party, drink and socialize as Carlson engages both heart and head in this compelling read. On every page there is a reminder for teens and adults that alcohol is a powerful force to be handled with great care.

Reviewed by Michele Howe on December 22, 2004

Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted
by Melody Carlson

  • Publication Date: December 22, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress
  • ISBN-10: 1576835332
  • ISBN-13: 9781576835333