Burned – Ellen Hopkins

Burned by Ellen Hopkins book cover

Burned

by Ellen Hopkins

Margaret K. McElderry Books – 2006 – 544 pages – Genre: A Novel in Verse, Realistic Fiction

Recommended by PWBHS student M.S. & reviewed by PWBHS Librarian Shelley Dorrill

“Do you ever dangle your toes over the precipice, dare the cliff to crumble, defy the frozen deity to suffer the sun, thaw feather and bone, take wing to fly you home?” – Pattyn von Stratten

This book tells a story about a girl who is a Mormon. Her family wants her to live the “Mormon life,” but she wants to live a different life. She finds love, but it ends in a tragic way. It’s really heart-breaking. – M.S. a PWBHS student

Burned is a young adult novel focused on the difficult life of Pattyn von Stratten. Pattyn is the youngest of seven of girls born to Stephen and Janice Von Stratten, devout, fundamentalist Mormons. To put it simply, Pattyn’s father is an abusive alcoholic who regularly beats his wife. Pattyn’s mother is no comfort for Pattyn as she is weak, distant and an enabler of Pattyn’s father’s abuse. In this torturous household, Pattyn struggles to find herself, meaning, and comfort. At first it is through a boy named Derek and nights drinking in the desert, but her rebellion is discovered by her father. This discovery and an altercation with Derek’s old girlfriend causes Stephen to send Pattyn to stay with his sister in Nevada for the summer.

However, in her Aunt Jeanette’s home for the first time Pattyn discovers a real family with Aunt J. and a chance at real, romantic love with a college student named Ethan. Will this new happiness last? Will Pattyn’s father steal the meaning and love Pattyn has found? This novel is followed by a sequel, Smoke by Ellen Hopkins.

The book is available on Sora.