Monday, February 11, 2008

Burned, Posted by Mrs. Camden

Burned, by Ellen Hopkins,
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

When I checked this book out of the library, our school's (and no doubt Texas' --- quite possibly America's) librarian-of-the-year Teresa Schauer commented that it was easy reading due to its being written in prose. She was most certainly right about that! Quick and easy . . . but not painless. The content was disturbing to me. I mean, c'mon, I'm an adult . . . I know things are not perfect in the world outside the walls of my own home. Geez -- they're not even perfect within the walls of my own home! HAH! Yet this poor child's life was horrendous -- I felt so sorry for her, and I hated her father for his abusiveness and her mother for her absolute submissiveness.

I was so excited that Pattyn found "life" while staying with her aunt. I was definitely rooting for her . . . so I was shocked and saddened when the events after summer led to such a tragic ending.

All in all, I loved the book, though, and I would recommend it to our young male readers as readily as I would our female readers.


  1. I'm trying to figure out why this bcamden person insists on flattering the librarian--she has absolutely nothing to gain by it!

    I read this book quite a while back so I don't remember a great many details about it-but I do remember feeling frustrated with Pattyn' situation and irritated and sad when the book was over. Maybe I need to read it again...but I have a pile of books to read already! Amongst that pile are three more of E. Hopkins' I think my re-reading of this one may just have to wait.

  2. Thanks for reading, and perhaps rereading! I started BURNED to explore what might bring a young woman to the brink of a shooting rampage. There were several in the news at the time. Only by having Pattyn lose everything important could I bring her there. I purposely left the ending ambiguous so readers could decide which way Pattyn goes.

    The interesting thing is how many reader responses I've gotten saying something like, "I was crying at the end of the book and I just want to thank you. You don't sugarcoat, and I appreciate the honesty." That includes boys.

    Just FYI, none of my endings are "happy" or tie things up too neatly, as life rarely does that for us. But IDENTICAL, which releases in August has the most hopeful ending, despite the subject matter. It's hands-down my best novel yet. I'm very proud of it!

    With appreciation for all you do!
    Ellen Hopkins

  3. Hannah the GreatestMarch 31, 2008 at 11:58 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I wasn't crazy about the ending, but Ellen Hopkins seems to have me hooked on all of her books. It was great.