Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Burned by Ellen Hopkins Review

Title: Burned
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: March 28th, 2006 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Book rating: 4 stars
Cover rating: 3 stars

It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious -- yet abusive -- family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation.
This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers -- about God, a woman's role, sex, love -- mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it?
It's with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn's father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn't know.
Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both -- until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell -- a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.
In this riveting and masterful novel told in verse, Ellen Hopkins takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride. From the highs of true love to the lows of abuse, Pattyn's story will have readers engrossed until the very last word.

 From the beginning I knew Burned was going to tug my emotions around and it did. I wasn't expecting what I got from this book, but usually that's how all of Ellen's books turn out for me. Pattyn comes from a broken home and a broken church. I took sympathy on her from the moment she let me into her mind because she was dealt a really shit life but I don't think she fully understood how wrong her situation was until later on in the book when she got to experience other things that were 'normal' and grew up a bit. Pattyn's dad is an alcoholic in this book and that's something that hits really close to home, my mom is a recovering one and I really felt for her and her family in this situation. It's not easy to deal with and it's not easy to figure out so I completely understood her anger, confusion, and frustration with him. So in ways I really related to Pattyn but her situation is much worse than mine ever was and her dad is a lot worse. The main problem in this book is that Pattyn starts to get hormones and notices boys in a different way than she's used to. In this book her church has led her to believe it's a sin and so she pretty much flips out and things start to spiral out of control. I'd just like to say as far as I know the Mormon community is nothing like it is depicted in this book. I have had several Mormon friends, the most important being my best friend since third grade, and she has never been forced to do the things Pattyn is in this book nor do her parents expect her to just grow up, find some asshole husband, and sit around popping out babies for him for the rest of her life. I'm not saying there aren't Mormon's out there who don't act like this or live this way because I don't know that for a fact but I didn't really get why the religion was explained that way and it bothered me. 

Anyways ranting aside after Pattyn realizes she likes boys she meets one and they decide to have a little fling, which in the end doesn't turn out so great and she gets shipped off to her Aunt J's who is her father's sister. The adventure Pattyn has at Aunt J's was really exciting to read about. Honestly, after reading about it I'd love to go spend a summer with her Aunt J and do all of the really fun things she got to do, like meeting a sexy cowboy and falling in love because who doesn't want to do that? Throughout Pattyn's stay at Aunt J's she falls in love with the next door neighbor boy, Ethan. Now Ethan is swoon worthy to the max, he's smart and he's a hard working guy. To watch this love story unfold in the middle of such a tragic story was heart-warming but I was left sitting there always asking when is the other shoe going to drop? Because we all know it has to at some point or another, Ellen Hopkins isn't one to just slap on a happy ending and call it a day. When that shoe dropped I about lost my marbles people! It's like one life punch in the face for Pattyn after another and I felt so, so sorry for her because she was supposed to escape and live happily ever after. The ending to this story left me a bit confused if I'm being honest because Pattyn does lose her marbles but we're never told if she's actually done what she said she was going to do. Excuse my evasiveness, trying not to spoil things here. Now this would bother me more if I didn't know there's going to be a sequel that I am now anxiously waiting on. 

Overall I enjoyed this book with the slight quirks it had, it wasn't my favorite Ellen Hopkins book but I liked it. I don't call her my favorite author just because I feel like it.

Purchase this book on

1 comment:

  1. I have read some books that are sometimes hard when they hit close to home. I love Ellen Hopkins but I haven't read a lot from her outside of the Crank series and Perfect. I will have to give this one a chance it sounds pretty good. Thanks for your honest review!


I love to hear what my fellow bloggers have to think and comments always make my day. Leave me a comment and I'll be sure to reply. (: