Book Review – Burned (Burned #1) by Ellen Hopkins

December 21, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 3 Comments

Book Review – Burned (Burned #1) by Ellen HopkinsBurned by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Burned #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 1st 2006
Pages: 531
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction, Verse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Crank, Fallout

four-stars

I do know things really began to spin out of control after my first sex dream.

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.

He was a dream. A safe dream.
Safe, because he was unattainable,
something to adore from afar.
Like a snow-drenched mountain
or an evening star.

The Storyline
17-year old Pattyn Von Stratten is the oldest child in a Mormon family which consists of an alcoholic and abusive father and an extremely overwhelmed mother. Unconsciously, she starts to rebel little by little from her strict family’s rules. After her father catches her in a moment of rebellion she is inevitably sent to live with her Aunt in rural Nevada. Pattyn begins to realize that life with her Aunt may not be as bad as she had originally thought and that going back to her old life may be harder than she thought.

Thoughts
This was the second Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read, and even though this was not as enjoyable as Triangles, I did still enjoy it. It was damn near impossible not to feel bad for Pattyn and her ‘moments of rebellion’ which wasn’t even anything that bad… her family just put her on such a short leash that any form of rebellion was conceived as horrible and wrong.

I can’t help but feel that these types of family situations only make things worse on these children in the long run. Placing so many rules and responsibilities on them at such a young age usually leads to crazy acts of rebellion. Of course this is not always the case and many kids that live in strict households end up turning perfectly decent members of society. When I was in high school I used to have two really good friends who were both Mormons from large families (with enormous responsibilities) who ended up having a huge impact on how I view families such as these.

I finished this book with my jaw on the ground; it was an extremely abrupt and unexpected ending. I went into this thinking that it was a stand-alone novel but come to find out there’s more to come in this series… I’m extremely interested in seeing how the author takes this story.

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3 Responses to “Book Review – Burned (Burned #1) by Ellen Hopkins”

  1. Sam

    Lovely review, Bonnie. I have never heard of this before though I am familiar with Ellen Hopkins. It sounds like a pretty good read overall. 🙂

    Sam @ Realm of Ficton

    Reply

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