I have so many issues with Burned by Ellen Hopkins. Mostly I just don’t deal well with the harder aspects of life. I will do almost anything to avoid confrontation. I am a peace maker and people pleaser and therein lies my problem. Burned made me look at situation that aren’t Cleaver squeaky clean.
Hopkins writes her novels in verse. Uncomfortable as I was with alcohol abuse and domestic violence, I had read more than 100 pages before I knew it. The pages fairly flew and I had to keep going. I had to know what the future held for Pattyn. Hopkins’s writing is beautiful and that’s what saved my rating for Burned.
I don’t like being uncomfortable when I read. What really hampered my rating is that the ending left much to be desired. There was no solid answers. We don’t know happens to Pattyn. My brain instantly tried to bleach out I’d read and I sent it out to the next reader in line. It took actual recovery time for me to figure out what exactly my biggest issue was.
HERE BE SPOILERS! (Pretty much the remainder of the review is spoilery about the ending)
At the end of Burned, I felt like the message was that survivors of abuse have a very bleak future. I know survivors and not all of their stories are happy. Some of them have healed. Some of them haven’t. But they all have lives, they all have happiness, and I just felt that this very important piece of information was missing from Burned. I don’t say this to minimalize the damage of abuse. I say it because hope is so important to abuse victims (some clarification: to me victims are people still in abusive situations; survivors have managed a very difficult thing and gotten help or gotten out) that I felt the giant gap without it. I just feel that if someone was in an abusive situation and read this book, they’d walk away with no hope for themselves. Thanfully, there is a sequel, Smoke. I’m just not sure when I’ll be ready to pick it up.
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