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Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Burned (2006)

by Ellen Hopkins

Series: Burned (1)

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This coming of age novel was unimpressive. The author seemed to play on a lot of mis-perceived stereotypes about the LDS church. I would have respected the storyline more if the author hadn't made it seem like what happened to Pattyn in her household happened because of her church. What happened to her happens in too many families regardless of their faith. The church described in the story was more like the cultish polygamous sects you read about in the tabloids than the true LDS church I am familiar with from friends and neighbors. The coming of age portion of the novel wasn't even very interesting. Pattyn falls for a guy, but he has no character development at all. The only reason he seems to be in the story is for a constant booty call. Then the author's note explains the authors purpose in writing the novel was to draw attention to environmental issues in Nevada. Oops I glossed over the few lines in that one chapter that described those issues. Totally went over my head. Think I'll skip the next book in this series. ( )
  jguidry | Sep 5, 2017 |
Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

My Review:
Pattyn, a little suicidal at times, tries to be a perfect Mormon girl but tends to feel like a stranger living in her own body. Living with six younger sisters, her dad is abusive and alcoholic despite their religion, and her mom is lazy and doesn't care about anything except popping out her next child, sitting at home all day making her older kids, mostly Pattyn, take care of the younger ones. Through the years she's discovered books, her secret treasure, mostly fantasy and horror, but that's about it for her. The librarian buys her a diary one day, and despite feeling a little weird about it, she begins to journal. She wants more out of like than just popping out babies for a husband she doesn't have yet. She thinks despite what her religion tells her, that having babies should be something beautiful rather than another chore. This tells her that woman are inferior, and that god likes it that way. She wants to be different, but doesn't know how to be. Her father has a past that haunts him, and it bleeds into his present life, never having another son and drinking away the pain of a dead son, a gay son, and a first wife lost to suicide. He hates his new family for being all female, and he never stops trying for a new start with another son. Pattyn is able to regain control of her life through her actions, although it seems like she just snapped one day, and is sent to live on her aunts farm. This book is unlike anything I've read lately, and I loved it even though it was hard to read at times because of the abuse the characters suffered. Pattyn really grew as a character throughout the book and I'm happy for her. The ending was a shock ad I really want to know what happens next! I'm so glad I read it, it kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next. Definitely check it out if you haven't already.
Thanks for reading. Check out this review and more at my blog.
(Radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com) ( )
  aurora.schnarr | Aug 15, 2017 |
What to say about
This book other than
It's freaking awesome?
I have no clue
Yet another
Novel in verse that
Exceeds my already
High expectations and
Delivers yet another
Great story, this time
From Ellen Hopkins
I know I have to
Read more of her work
Next time I
Go back to the library
But for now I'll
Focus on this one
It's perfect and
Utterly wonderful but
Heartbreakingly sad and I
Was so torn at the end
The poor girl, she's
A victim of circumstance and
Her family kind of sucks
Especially her dad
Her dad's the worst
Would I recommend this book?
Most certainly, I would ( )
  kyndyleizabella | Jan 22, 2017 |
I instantly wanted Pattyn to succeed. I wanted her and her sisters to be freed from the hell that they were living in. I think that this gives a look into a lifestyle that many people don't believe exists. For somebody who grew up in a loving home, this seems impossible. I think that Ellen Hopkins does a great job of painting this hellish lifestyle into a reality.
  BrittanySchupman | Jul 29, 2016 |
Well, I'm not gonna lie--I really didn't like this book. On the one hand, the story itself was a lot more fun to read than that of Crank and Glass, which actually didn't have a story beyond chronicling the main character's drug use.

On the other hand... Blech. In the first place I hate the teenagers Hopkins writes. They are just obnoxious. They might be realistic, although I have to say, I have never known a teenager who refers to sex as "making love." (And speaking of which, gag me with the cheesy writing. I accidentally returned the book so I can't look up any examples, but I will tell you that her protagonist, Pattyn, refers to her crush as "Furnace Lips.")

Also, her teenager characters always believe they are in love--or, as they call it, "forever love"--after approximately two days of knowing someone. Yeah, of course I was like that too, but between the ages of 13 and 15. Her characters are 17 and 18 years old, and by then even I, the most naive teenager who ever lived, knew it takes a little longer than that to really know. Also, when they have sex for the first time, the boy says "Let me show you what love is." SEX IS NOT LOVE. Come on, Hopkins. (To her credit, I have to say that she is diligent about making the point that sex is better when you love the person. But I consider that small potatoes in light of how freely she writes sex into the lives of teens--who, it just so happens, ALWAYS think they're in love.)

(Related side note: It really irritated me that adults encouraged the teens in this belief. Even an adult who is still in love with her high school sweetheart should know that that's a rare thing, and know better than to encourage a girl to believe that her first boyfriend, who she's known for a grand total of two months, is THE ONE.)

Next there's the Mormon stuff. There were some things I could relate to, realizing that though I never felt that way myself at the time, I probably would have if I'd been like I am now. But while I could understand some of the cynicism, I was also very aware that the author was not trying to paint an objective picture of the LDS church as a whole.

Pattyn asks her bishop if it's okay for a man to beat his wife; the bishop tells her that although violence is never right it is a man's duty to keep his wife in check, and then calls her a liar and says he hopes she's not accusing her father of doing that. (Pattyn's mother wears sunglasses to church every week to hide her bruises.) She is also told a story in which, when he was younger, her father held a gun to the heads of his sister and her boyfriend, telling them that if he ever saw them together again he would kill them both. In this story, Pattyn's aunt went to the sheriff, who was also the bishop, and who said that he couldn't do anything because there wasn't enough evidence. Pattyn then decides that she can't trust a Mormon leader OR the police ever again. The patriarchal church infrastructure creates an environment in which these things can happen and go unchallenged, and that's one of the most significant problems with it. But while it's entirely possible that those things could happen, and I know they have happened in one form or other, it's incredibly inaccurate and unfair to be blatantly stating that this is just what Mormon leaders are like.

And, finally, there's the ending. Which I will not spoil for you--but I will tell you that I found it completely unbelievable, not rational in the context of the storyline, and just kind of dumb. By that time I was just glad to be done, and I don't think I'm interested in reading any more of Hopkins's books.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
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"This book is dedicated to my exceptional editor and support system, Julia Richardson. With special thanks to kathleen Jones, who found the courage to forge her own path, and without whose help this book would not have been as accurate a glimpse of a young woman struggling with her religion."
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"When you were little, endure your parents' warnings, then wait for them to leave the room, pry loose protective covers and consider inserting some metal object into an electrical outlet?"
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Seventeen-year-old Pattyn, the eldest daughter in a large Mormon family, is sent to her aunt's Nevada ranch for the summer, where she temporarily escapes her alcoholic, abusive father and finds love and acceptance, only to lose everything when she returns home.… (more)

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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