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By Ellen Hopkins 

Reviewed by Patricia Chavarria
Senior writer, 19

With its poetic writing and chilling storyline, Burned by Ellen Hopkins is the most suspenseful book I’ve read.

Burned takes you inside the mind of high school student Pattyn Von Stratten, a Mormon girl struggling to find the answers to her questions about her religion, love and a woman’s role. She questions whether love means having to stay with your abusive husband.

The book begins with Pattyn asking the readers if they’ve ever felt like ending their lives? Because she has. Living in a Mormon home with six younger sisters, a “lazy” mom and an alcoholic and abusive father, Pattyn feels like an outsider. Unable to confide in someone about her problems at home, Pattyn bottles up her emotions inside until one day when she is forced to break-up with her first boyfriend, Derek, a non-Mormon. She grows even more furious after finding out, from Derek’s new girlfriend, that he only wanted to sleep with her. Pattyn punches her in the face and gets suspended. After getting a call from school that Pattyn got into a fight and broke the library window, her parents send her to rural Nevada for the summer to live on a ranch with her aunt Jeanette.

Pattyn sees this as a good thing because she’s away from her father and her religion. Meanwhile Pattyn meets the neighborhood boy, Ethan, who falls for her instantly. He teaches her how to ride a horse, how to drive, and how to confide in him. As summer is wearing off and school is just around the corner, she is upset because she might be going back home and if she does, how will it work with her and Ethan who are now together. 

Like in her previous books, Hopkins writes Burned in free verse poetry. I like it. The poetry distinguishes Hopkins’ books from other books. Even if you don’t like poetry or don’t understand it at times (like me) it’s easy to understand because the verses are simple.

I never knew a book would make me have so many emotions. At first I would be biting my nails. Then I would put a pillow on my face to hide my scream of excitement. And at one point I would be on the verge of tears. I felt like jumping inside the book to hug Pattyn and tell her everything would be fine. The book was amazing! And even though I predicted the ending, doesn’t mean I didn’t like it.