Monday, May 9, 2011

Review of Burned

I nominated Burned by Ellen Hopkins for my book club's read in April and only today have I finally finished reading it. I picked it up time and time again, found myself reading the first thirty or so pages [or in some cases listening to it via audible on my Kindle] than would set it aside only to restart it again the next day.

The following review is of a book I bought for myself from a local used bookstore.

Goodreads Summary: "Raised in a religious -- yet abusive -- family, Pattyn Von Stratten starts asking questions -- about God, a woman's role, sex, love. She experiences the first stirrings of passion, but when her father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control. Pattyn is sent to live with an aunt in the wilds of Nevada to find salvation and redemption. What she finds instead is love and acceptance -- until she realizes that her old demons will not let her go."

Burned by Ellen Hopkins is a young adult novel told through poetic prose, brilliantly done poetic prose. Though I mentioned having issues getting through the story in the beginning I found that had more to do with my sixth sense of where the story would be going than the writing itself. I found myself caught up in the story once I let myself read without contemplating the outcome, tumbling through it like a train racing down the tracks without bothering to find out if the bridge would be out at the end.

Some people have had issues with this novel for the way that it deals with religion; Pattyn is a Mormon and questions the rules of the society in which she grows up, her father abuses not only her but her mother as well. I think people are meant to look at the bigger picture in this instance. It's not that because they are Mormon this is an honest portrayal of what all Mormon women go through, I think what people are supposed to see is that it can happen anywhere. People everywhere turn a blind eye to the abuse, they don't want to get involved or the people involved feel as if they have nowhere to go. Even people in this kind of tight-knit community where everyone sees one another constantly and is basically a part of one another's lives. This is what readers should be looking at, realizing this and taking a step back. This is our society. This book is trying to make you question the status quo and it does a brilliant job of it.

I'm giving Burned by Ellen Hopkins five out of five stars for excellence. This is a must read for everyone. It's a powerful story . I will warn readers that there is violence/abuse, cursing and teen sex. Don't let that stop you from picking it up though. Remember to keep an open mind, you won't regret reading this novel.


  1. I've never read an Ellen Hopkins novel.

    There, I said it! You can all throw your flaming objects at me now! In all seriousness, I've always wanted to read one, I just... haven't. This one seems good though! I've heard that her books are extremely powerful and I really get that from your review.

    Thanks! New follower :)

  2. Prior to reading Burned I never had either, so I was a Hopkins virgin too.

    Thanks for the kind words about my review, I'm a reviewing newbie and it's hard to judge my own.

    Welcome to Typing Tiara! :D