Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released: October 23, 2007
From Goodreads: 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 thoughts: I was into poetry in high school but sort of lost my connection with it as I hit college. I’m not sure if it was that teenage angst that drew me into poetry for its rich emotion and strong word selection or what. Maybe it was just a phase, who knows. I have recently wanted to get back into poetry, to see if I can find that beauty as an adult but just haven’t found any collections that sounded like I would enjoy them.
I received a bunch of Ellen Hopkins’ novels a year or so ago as a gift but they just sat on my shelves. I was intimidated by diving into a novel in verse but after hearing her speak at YALL Fest last November I decided I had to take the plunge soon. The way she talked of her writing and love of poetry calmed my worries leaving me knowing that I could capture the emotions that I have during a story in her prose.
Let me tell you – I was so wrong to ever have worried I wouldn’t get the story. In fact, I might have connected more just because of the way Ellen Hopkins uses words to tell a story. Possibly the thing I love most was the way she used the free form of poetry to show the story. I showed Brett multiple pages to demonstrate how awesome the impact was. Pages with words written in the shape of hearts, words isolated to really show impact, and to show true emotion. So extremely powerful…I just can’t explain how amazing her use of layout and words truly are. You need to read it, see it, hold the pages in your hands to feel it like I did.
The actual story is haunting, heartbreaking, and devastating to read. I cheered for Pattyn, felt rage on her behalf, and then finished the book mystified. Not because of her actions exactly, but more because of how well this fictional story could mirror real possibilities for thousands of people everyday. And the descriptions of Nevada are gorgeous – achingly empty but full of such magnificent beauty and wildlife.
The only thing that kept me from rating this a full 5 stars is the ending. It wasn’t a horrible ending, just less than I wanted out of the story. I won’t say anymore as not to spoil it though.