Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: March 2006
Classification: YA Novel
Summary from Goodreads:
I do know things really began to spin out of control after my first sex dream.
It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious — yet abusive — family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation.
This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers — about God, a woman’s role, sex, love — mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it?
It’s with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn’s father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn’t know.
Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both — until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell — a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.
In this riveting and masterful novel told in verse, Ellen Hopkins takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride. From the highs of true love to the lows of abuse, Pattyn’s story will have readers engrossed until the very last word.
I couldn’t wait to read this book because I have never read one of the famous Hopkins books before. I know so many people, including my co-blogger Bianca, love her books so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. I love verse books as well so the powerful emotions I was promised mixed with powerful feelings and themes all put in verse format is something I love.
The characters in this book were good I did like Pattyn and everything she had to go through. She seemed like a person I could really relate to. She was trying to find a way in her oppressed society and she wanted to make a place for herself. I was also trying to do the same while I was in high school. I thought it was so interesting to watch her grow and change for the better, to see her experience new things and try to stand up for herself even if it meant the wrath of her father.
The plot was something I loved right away, it was even better than the characters in my opinion. I loved the slightly feminist edge to the story. Girl is oppressed by a man driven society and wants to step out of the bounds of a 50s stay at home house wife whose sole goal in life is to pop out kids like there is no tomorrow. I was really into feminism and women’s roles when I was growing up do I connected with this right away. I just really enjoyed the overall plot direction…until the end that is. The ending of this book really killed some of the progress Pattyn had made and that really ruined this book for me. I was all for Pattyn growing, changing, finding herself, standing up to her abusive father, finding the love of her life but that ending was horrific! I just can’t love this book after the way it ended.
Overall, I really did like the characters and the plot was so awesome I could barely breathe while I was reading this story. Like I said though the ending was really hard for me to swallow but I heard that there is a sequel to this book so I hope that clears up a few things for me.