Winner of the 2010 William C. Morris Award!
Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him; the other one needs him.
When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).
In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.
Blake is the class clown who can spin anything his way with a joke. Or at least, he could before he began to navigate the tricky waters of girls and relationships. Now that he is in a relationship with Shannon, he frequently finds himself out of his depth and wondering what he has done to anger her. His relationship with Marissa is simpler. They are friends who take a photography class together; their teacher refers to Marissa and Blake as "Pretty and Gritty" respectively because of the subjects they choose to photograph. While Marissa is focusing on flowers and beauty, Blake is taking pictures of bleak sidewalks and homeless people. When Marissa recognizes one of the homeless people as her mother, her life is thrown into a tailspin as she tries to rehabilitate her mother. Concerned, Blake finds himself lying to Shannon in order to check up on Marissa. Despite having fallen in love with Shannon, he is drawn into Marissa's world more and more as the situation with her mother makes her vulnerable and strengthens their friendship. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop