Friday, January 6, 2012

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Burned
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Ages: Young Adults - 15+
Genera: Fiction
Subjects: Abuse, Poetry, Sexuality, Religious upbringing
Contains some VERY adult topics

Told in verse, the book tells the sad tale of Pattyn Von Stratten, the eldest daughter of a ‘good’ Mormon family. Her journey begins with a simple dream about a boy. With most families, it would not mean anything. But to Pattyn, it could be the first step to hell and eternal damnation.

The dream is the first step, but to what? Will the dream lead to a better life or hell? Pattyn ponders this and other questions. They are questions without any answers – about God, sex, and most of all, love. The readers will find themselves pondering these same questions along with her in this battle of good and evil. Soon enough, Pattyn gets caught with a real boy, and gets shipped to rural Nevada. There she finds something new to her: love and acceptance. And for the first time in her life, she feels worthy of it. But her past demons won’t let her escape. Pattyn goes down a path that will surely lead her to hell.

Rating: A+
Ellen Hopkins’ books are a work of art. It warns girls and boys alike, about how dangerous the world can be. Dealing with sex, abuse, drugs, and alcohol, it can be quite hard to read at times yet thoroughly worth it. The endings will leave you pondering for the rest of the day, and sometimes more.

From the first pages, you are drawn into Pattyn’s harsh life. The way it is written makes it impossible to quit reading. It is not possible to skip a paragraph – because there are no paragraphs. Most of the book is thoughts and feelings, but the dialogue is very important to read. There are no annoying pages where the dialogue just goes on… and on. I love how you always know what Pattyn is thinking. When she is sad, you are sad; when she is ecstatic, you are too. Her story will leave the readers absorbed until the very end.

This book isn’t an easy read and some scenes could be quite traumatic to younger audiences. I don’t recommend this to kids younger than 15 or 14 (unless their parents permit them to read it). But with this said, it is an amazing book that I think everyone should at some point in their life. Ellen Hopkins’ books should be recommended reading in schools across the country and the world.

- Rogue

6th book review

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