Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Burned

Burned by Ellen Hopkins
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Goodreads description:

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 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Just like in Crank and Glass, the only other Ellen Hopkins books I've read (review), the great prose is what I liked best about this book. It's captivating enough to make you want to flip the pages as fast as possible, but beautiful enough to make you want to savor every word. I have no idea how she does it, but her writing is mesmerizing, despite (or because of) the sparse style.

Even though the plot in Burned isn't as obviously important and powerful as in Crank, it's nonetheless fascinating to read about. My beliefs are nowhere near Mormon faith, but this books really made me question my own faith, and it's always a good sign if a book gets you thinking, in my opinion.

Pattyn was pretty easy to relate to. Like I said, my situation regarding faith is nothing like hers, as I don't have any of that type of pressure, but I could still understand each of her emotions, and most of her quesitons are ones I've found myself wondering about as well. The secondary characters were great and complex as well. I loved Aunt J and how we found out more about Pattyn's dad by hearing about her past. Ethan's character was good, too, for the most part. Again, I loved the connection he had to Pattyn's family and how that added another layer to the plot. I also enjoyed the romance between him and Pattyn, but would have liked to know about more about him as a person. The Ethan-losing-his-mother storyline could have been elaborated more, too.

While I loved Ellen Hopkins's writing, I thought her style fit Kristina's dark story a bit better than it fit Pattyn's. Not to say Pattyn's story wasn't dark - terrible things happen in this book as well - but especially the middle with the cute first-love storyline just didn't match the dark tone as well as Kristina's always-dark journey.

One thing I didn't quite get were Pattyn's journal entries. The author's style is so emotianal and close to the character anyways, I didn't really see the difference or the point of the journal entries. In some of these entries, Pattyn just writes about stuff that happened to her and that the reader already knows about, so I didn't really get what the reader was supposed to gain from those.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I was completely shocked at the ending. I kept thinking "she cannot just end this book like that", but then I saw on Goodreads that there's going to be a sequel, so I'm interested in seeing where she takes this story after that crazy ending.

All in all, this is another great book by Ellen Hopkins. Not quite as powerful as Crank and Glass, but it still has an important message, and the writing is amazing. I definitely recommend it!


  1. I read "Burned" and it has made a firm impression in my mind. I just finished reading "Identical" and I was left breathless by the end. Great review!

  2. Great review! Now I really want to read this book - the premise is fantastic! And I really like the cover too (so yes, I quite often buy books just because I adore the cover, oh well).

  3. Good review. This book looks really great. I am looking fovard to read. And it has got great cover:)

  4. PatriciasParticularityApril 25, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    Why would the plot not be as "important" as the plot in CRANK?

  5. After rereading my review, I agree that wasn't the best way to phrase it - I'm not trying to belittle the subject matter of Burned, or anything like that. I just meant that, when you first hear about Crank, you hear "It's a book about a meth-addict," which will probably make you think it's going to be a powerful book. But what Burned is about is a little more vague, it sounds like a wider subject matter. Okay, I'm making no sense, I really don't know how to explain this - sorry! I just mean that Crank is an obvious issue-book, one you'll immediately know is going to be powerful and important, while Burned is more subtle.


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