After Band of Brothers, I was ready for a break and looking to escape into a skycastle of a story in BURNED by Ellen Hopkins (NYT Bestselling author of Crank and Impulse. Clearly she has mastered one word titles. Hot.)
I open the book and what.
I'm confused, I can't tell if the book actually started or if this is some famous poem at the beginning but I catch on fast. The next page is a poem, the next is another. Fifty pages into the story and I see that no chapter is longer than 2 pages.
More than that, the author doesn't just spin a story, she writes word pictures. I've never seen poetry do this and I love it. Check out this page about spaghetti for dinner.
This is awesome and beautiful and I'm so inspired I put the book down and do crafts with my daughter for hours. It isn't hard to put this book since so much is happening in its sparse pages it could fill and entire season of an HBO miniseries. Love, teens, rebellion, philosophy, violence, redemption.
Within the first hundred pages I feel like I know Pattyn (named after General Patton; all her sisters were named after great Generals), her numb mother, her tribe of sisters and her father who has "quirks"(I'm showing great reserve in telling you no more than that, and you're welcome).
Soon enough Burned becomes a love story, or at least the kind of story where a high-school aged homemade clothing wearing Mormon virgin drinks beer and makes out with a guy in the desert and her dad almost kills them both.
Around page 400 I was through with it, through with reading about her worries about whether she was going to hell. I'm past that point of my life, I know the answers to questions like this which makes me tune out a bit to her angst-filled rants about having to live like three hours away from the love of her life and if their love would survive.
Somewhere around THIS page I've had enough. Look at those lines shoot down the page however it wants to, ignoring propriety.
Art has become tedious. I want the story to finish already.
I put the book down, pick up the kids, go to the grocery, sweep the floor.
I pick it back up.
Thirty pages to go and I'm sure I know how it ends.
Ten pages to go. Fine, fine, I thought this would happen.
I turn to the last page and finish the book.
The last words cause me to throw the book involuntarily, like I've been burned.
Ooooch. Ouch. Whoa.
No FREAKING way.
I wasn't expecting that. What? Read it and find out.
In the last pages the book went from a C+ (translated: ok, ok, I get it, now finish) to a solid A ( translated: wow! this is art! holy moly you got me!).
Burned by Ellen Hopkins (2006)