16 February 2011

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

This poetic and powerful novel is an extraordinary piece of literature. Sixteen-year-old Pattyn begins the story with thoughts of suicide and readers follow her free verse narration through uncensored emotional ups-and-downs. Pattyn has been raised in a strict Mormon household, where women are taught to be subservient, and her alcoholic, physically abusive father maintains complete control. When Pattyn is found breaking religious and family rules, she is exiled to Aunt J’s house on a Nevada farm for the summer. There she falls in love with Ethan, who treats her with tenderness and respect. Supported by Aunt J and Ethan, she begins to regain trust in God and the goodness of life. But when she returns home, she realizes that home is dangerous and she decides to escape her father’s control. Tragedy follows and Pattyn swears revenge. There is a bittersweet and almost exaggerated realism found within the bleak negativity of this novel. Readers will become emotionally absorbed into Pattyn’s life and will undoubtedly be left broken-hearted.

Recommended to high school readers.
Call number: YA HOPKINS (Teen Room)

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