Thursday, December 30, 2010
Gr. 9-12. Full of anger at her father, an alcoholic who abuses her mother, Pattyn begins to question her Mormon religion and her preordained, subservient role within it. She is confused by her mother's acceptance of the brutal abuse, and although she is furious at and terrified of her father, she still longs for his love and approval. As the consequences of her anger become more dramatic, her parents send her to spend the summer with her aunt on a Nevada ranch. There she finds the love and acceptance she craves, both from her aunt and from a college-age neighbor, Ethan. Told in elegant free verse, Burned envelopes the reader in Pattyn's highs and lows, her gradual opening to love, and her bouts of rage, confusion, and doubt. It exposes the mind of the abused, but regrettably offers no viable plan to deal with the abuser, a reality perhaps, but a plot element that may raise eyebrows in the adult community. Still, this will easily find rapid-fire circulation among its YA audience. A troubling but beautifully written novel. -Frances Bradburn
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Once I got this book from the library, I was a tad intimidated when I saw that it had be at least 500 pages. Then I looked at the pages and realized this book was written in verse. I'd never read a novel written in verse before this. I've heard wonderful things about Ms. Hopkins books. It's way overdue for me to read them. I don't think there's much chance of me making my 100 book goal for the year, but I've come close.
Immediately I felt for Pattyn. Her home life was horrible and she was reaching out for love. She's trying to find some kind of self-worth while being raised in a society where females are considered nothing more than property. If you're told you're worthless, how can you value yourself or feel as though you have a future worth hoping for?
This book was lovely. I read it quickly and found myself absorbed in Pattyns story. It was tough to put down because I wanted to see where the story went. Wow, did it go somewhere too. It kept me turning the pages right up to the astounding conclusion. I'm giving this one 4 1/2 kisses and plan to read more of Ellen Hopkins.