Saturday, September 26, 2009
Pattyn von Statten has been questioning a lot of things in her life lately: her religion, her parents' belief of a women's role in life, love. But these questions lead to her abusive father's anger, and when Pattyn begins to test her father beyond what he can handle, he sends her to her Aunt Jeanette's ranch in Nevada as punishment. But to Pattyn, the summer away is redemption. She finds freedom, love, and happiness. She finds her first love. But with fall comes her expected return home, and despite all of the wonderful things Pattyn has discovered, the pain and oppression of the past don't disappear.
I've read enough of Ellen Hopkins' novels to know that her books are powerful, brutally honest portrayals of teens stuck in tough spots in life, but yet this book managed to amaze me nonetheless. Pattyn is a character everyone can relate to; she's inquisitive and vulnerable, and what she wants most out of life is love and acceptance. Unfortunately for her, her family life is a complete disaster, and the abuse her family endures is often hidden or excused by their twisted religious beliefs. But despite these harsh and tragic elements, Burned also contains one of the sweetest love stories as Pattyn finds rare true love and learns what it means to be happy despite the confusing jumble of emotions she experiences. However, the happiness can't last forever, and when she's forced to return home, the following events will shock readers. The novel is wonderfully and scarily realistic, right down to the very end, and Hopkins' sophisticated and gripping poetry is perfect for the story. Burned is one book that will make you think long and hard.
Cover Comments: This cover keeps in with the theme of Hopkins' previous novels, and I like how the title looks like an actual burn mark. It's really simple, but really effective, even if it doesn't exactly mirror the content of the book.