WEEN Online Blog

Recommended Read: Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Posted on: September 4, 2008

Sometimes, all we need is a good book to get us through the day, the summer or through a semester. For our first installment of “Recommended Read” I have….

Burned by Ellen Hopkins.

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.

To read the excerpt….

Did You Ever

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?

Did you wonder if for once you might light up the room?

When you were big enough to cross the street on your own, did you ever wait for a signal, hear the frenzied approach of a fire truck and feel like stepping out in front of it?
Did you wonder just how far that rocket ride might take you?

When you were almost grown, did you ever sit in a bubble bath, perspiration pooling, notice a blow-dryer plugged in within easy reach, and think about dropping it into the water?

Did you wonder if the expected rush might somehow fail you?

And now, do you ever dangle your toes over the precipice, dare the cliff to crumble, defy the frozen deity to suffer the sun, thaw feather and bone, take wing to fly you home?

I, Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten, do.

I’m Not Exactly Sure

When I began to feel that way.

Maybe a little piece of me always has. It’s hard to remember.

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

As sex dreams go, there wasn’t much sex, just a collage of very hot kisses, and Justin Proud’s

hands, exploring every inch of my body, at my fervent invitation. As a stalwart Mormon

high school junior, drilled ceaselessly about the dire catastrophe awaiting those

who harbored impure thoughts, I had never kissed a boy, had never even considered

that I might enjoy such an unclean thing, until literatureopened my eyes.

See, the Library

was my sanctuary.

Through middle school, librarians were like guardian angels. Spinsterish guardian angels, with graying hair and beady eyes, magnified through reading glasses, and always ready to recommend new literary windows to gaze through.

A. A. Milne. Beatrix Potter. Lewis Carroll. Kenneth Grahame. E. B.

White. Beverly Cleary. Eve Bunting.

Then I started high school, where the not-so-bookish librarian was half angel, half she-devil, so sayeth the rumor mill. I hardly cared.

Ms. Rose was all I could hope I might one day be: aspen physique, new penny hair, aurora green eyes, and hands that could speak. She walked on air. Ms Rose shuttered old windows, opened portals undreamed of.

And just beyond, what fantastic worlds!

Average Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5

Perfect for girls ages 15-18.

You can purchase the book at Barnes & Nobles for $9.99


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