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Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Burned (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Ellen Hopkins

Series: Burned (1)

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1,790743,914 (4.06)30
Authors:Ellen Hopkins
Info:Margaret K. McElderry (2006), Hardcover, 544 pages
Collections:Spring 2007 Additions

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Burned by Ellen Hopkins (2006)


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It was an atypical novel in that it was in verse and it included a dialogue on the Mormon religion. I enjoyed it up until the end; the shift just feels hopeless and unrealistic. ( )
  jennk | Mar 11, 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 |
I wish this woman would stop ruining my life. ( )
  babydogfish | Jan 29, 2016 |
"Burned" is a novel about a young girl struggling to deal with her restrictive, Mormon religion and alcoholic, abusive father. Told in verse, this is a hard-hitting story with a shock ending. I like Pattyn as a protagonist and the way she questions God, women's rights and life in general. However, my favourite character is Pattyn's Aunt J who helps Pattyn to realise her own self-worth and opens her eyes to the options available to her beyond being a wife and mother. The romance between Pattyn and Ethan is touching, although a bit rushed. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending and it is heart-wrenching knowing that despite everything Pattyn has been through her future looks bleak. Hope there's a sequel. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |

Burned is narrated by a high school girl (Pattyn) growing up in a strict mormon family. She suffers silently as her family takes a backseat to her religion and she start to question and explore life to find her place in a world where she's told that women are nothing more than property. She is told that she is evil and full of sin and that she needs a man to validate her. To make matters worse, she is the oldest of many children and plays the role of mother to each of them. She cooks, and cleans and changes diapers all while her mother sits on the sofa watching tv and her father gets drunk. After she was caught "acting out" (doing things a normal teenager girl would do) her father sends her to stay with his sister for the summer. There she finds out more of her family history and she finds herself. Once returns home she does her best to hide her confidence and assimilate into the mormon community again even though she may never truly fit in again.

My thoughts:
This is the fourth book that I have read by Ellen Hopkins. I started with Crank and finished that series. It was those books that made me order the rest of her works.

Burned is a good read. Pattyn is a typical teenager girl struggling with identity. Her thoughts and actions are realistic and the plot was interesting. If you've grown up in a strict religious home then you may resonate with some of the thoughts that she had. I grew up Christian and had to learn how my faith fit in to the rest of the world. Granted I did not have to deal with 25% of the problems that she encountered. Just thinking of girls out there suffering through this makes me tear up.

Overall I enjoyed the book and finished is pretty quickly. Th plot was paced well and the main character was likable instantly. The only thing that was bittersweet was the ending. It made me sad. (I won't give it away). I was sad because of what happened and I was sad because of what that meant. I was hoping that thing would turn out differently but now I am ready to read the next book. (Im going to start is once I finish this review). ( )
  Natalie_Walker | Oct 27, 2015 |
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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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