Burned

Burned

4.4 907
by Ellen Hopkins
     
 

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A Gripping Novel from the Author of the Critically Acclaimed Crank

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

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Overview

A Gripping Novel from the Author of the Critically Acclaimed Crank

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.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This gritty, angsty, ultimately tragic and troubling coming-of-age story is set in rural Nevada and told in free verse. An abusive, alcoholic father; a perpetually pregnant mother; six little sisters and a brother on the way; a religious culture that she is beginning to question; and the pressure of always being obedient and docile are beginning to smother seventeen-year-old Pattyn. Her one outlet is shooting targets in the desert, something \ she is very good at. Pattyn is no angel, but she is not that far from normal either. When her father discovers her first sexual encounter, he goes ballistic, and when Pattyn acts out in rebellion, he sends her to her Aunt Jeanette. On Aunt J's ranch, Pattyn experiences a little bit of freedom and positive attention, learns some family secrets, has her consciousness raised about nuclear testing in the desert, and meets Ethan, with whom her sexual and emotional explorations continue. This book raises many issues-perhaps too many-including the lingering effects of the Vietnam War, the role of women in Mormon culture, Yucca mountain and hazardous waste disposal, and family violence. Still it all coalesces into a compelling and emotional story told in a unique way. While not lyrically written, the free verses, many in the form of concrete poems, create a compressed and intense reading experience with no extraneous dialogue or description. Each verse narrated by Pattyn is an episode in her growing awareness. This book will appeal to teens favoring realistic fiction and dramatic interpersonal stories. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006,Margaret K. McElderry Books/S & S, 544p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Tina Frolund
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Once again the author of Crank (S & S, 2004) has masterfully used verse to re-create the yearnings and emotions of a teenage girl trapped in tragic circumstances. Poems in varied formats captivate readers as they describe a teen's immobilizing fear of her abusive father, disgust with a church hierarchy that looks the other way, hope that new relationships can counteract despair, joy in the awakening of romance, and sorrow when demons ultimately prevail. Pattyn Von Stratten is the eldest of eight sisters in a stern Mormon household where women are relegated to servitude and silence. She has a glimpse of normal teenage life when Derek takes an interest in her, but her father stalks them in the desert and frightens him away. Unable to stifle her rage, Pattyn acts out as never before and is suspended from school. Sent to live with an aunt on a remote Nevada ranch, she meets Ethan and discovers "forever love." Woven into the story of a teen's struggle to find her destiny is the story of her aunt's barrenness following government mismanagement of atomic testing and protests over nuclear waste disposal. Readers will become immersed in Pattyn's innermost thoughts as long-held secrets are revealed, her father's beatings take a toll on her mother and sister, and Pattyn surrenders to Ethan's love with predictable and disturbing consequences. Writing for mature teens, Hopkins creates compelling characters in horrific situations.-Kathy Lehman, Thomas Dale High School Library, Chester, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In cutting free-verse, 16-year-old Pattyn offers first-person narration of religious oppression and physical violence. Her Mormon church dictates that women grow up powerless. An entrancing sexual dream and a non-Mormon boyfriend make Pattyn feel giddy but guilty. Will she burn in hell? Exiled (for punishment) to a desert ranch, Pattyn blossoms under the respectful care of Aunt J and finds storybook love with neighbor Ethan. But at summer's end, she returns home to a situation even worse than before. Alcoholic Dad now beats the children (rather than just Mom); Pattyn, badly whipped, tries to hang on until she can leave home. But a heart-sinking pregnancy (Ethan's condom broke once) prompts an escape attempt that goes horribly wrong. Bereaved and desperate with nowhere to turn, Pattyn plans a brutal revenge. Hopkins's incisive verses sometimes read in several directions as they paint the beautiful Nevada desert and the consequences of both nuclear testing at Yucca Mountain and Pattyn's tragic family history. Sharp and heartbreaking. (Fiction. YA)
Booklist
“troubling . . . beautifully written.”
Booklist
From the Publisher
“Compelling characters in horrific situations.”
School Library Journal

“troubling . . . beautifully written.”
Booklist

Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
Told in blank verse, this is the story of seventeen-year-old Pattyn (named for General George Patton) Von Stratten, and her Mormon household. Dominated by an abusive father, this is a dysfunctional family held together only by their religious loyalties. Pattyn is the oldest of seven girls and as such, inherits much of the care of her siblings. With little time to spend on herself and even less to consider healthy friendship with opposite sex, Pattyn becomes easy prey to high school Romeo’s with lustful intentions. Much of the text of this title depicts vivid sex play with no sense of real love or even companionship. When Pattyn is not involved physically with a male, she is thinking about either how it would be or how it was. Eventually, her attachments get the rising senior into trouble at school and her parents send her away for the summer to her aunt’s ranch in Nevada. In this almost blissful existence away from her demanding and miserable family, Pattyn finds love and acceptance with her aunt, and, no surprise here, another male. As the continuing narrative unfolds, Pattyn engages in more sexual foreplay, fantasy, and finally culmination. By the end of the book, our hero has become pregnant, lost the baby and the baby’s father as well as whatever shaky faith she had in God. Having committed murder, Pattyn has also become a fugitive from the law. There is no encouragement, no peace, no light at the end of the tunnel. The only positive value to be found in this sad and sex-riddled tale is that with little dialogue and less description, the five-hundred-thirty-one pages move swiftly and the determined reader does not have to suffer long. Reviewer: Janice DeLong; Ages 17 up.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416903550
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
10/23/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


From Burned

Did You Ever

When you were little, endure

your parents' warnings, then wait

for them to leave the room,

pry loose protective covers

and consider inserting some metal

object into an electrical outlet?

Did you wonder if for once

you might light up the room?

When you were big enough

to cross the street on your own,

did you ever wait for a signal,

hear the frenzied approach

of a fire truck and feel like

stepping out in front of it?

Did you wonder just how far

that rocket ride might take you?

When you were almost grown,

did you ever sit in a bubble bath,

perspiration pooling,

notice a blow-dryer plugged

in within easy reach, and think

about dropping it into the water?

Did you wonder if the expected

rush might somehow fail you?

And now, 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?

I, Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten, do.

I'm Not Exactly Sure

When I began to feel that way.

Maybe a little piece of me

always has. It's hard to remember.

But I do know things really

began to spin out of control

after my first sex dream.

As sex dreams go, there wasn't

much sex, just a collage

of very hot kisses, and Justin Proud's

hands, exploring every inch

of my body, at my fervent

invitation. As a stalwart Mormon

high school junior, drilled

ceaselessly about the dire

catastrophe awaiting those

who harbored impure thoughts,

I had never kissed a boy,

had never even considered

that I might enjoy such

an unclean thing, until

literature opened my eyes.

See, the Library

was my sanctuary.

Through middle

school, librarians

were like guardian

angels. Spinsterish

guardian angels,

with graying hair

and beady eyes,

magnified through

reading glasses,

and always ready

to recommend new

literary windows

to gaze through.

A. A. Milne. Beatrix

Potter. Lewis

Carroll. Kenneth

Grahame. E. B.

White. Beverly

Cleary. Eve Bunting.

Then I started high

school, where the

not-so-bookish

librarian was half

angel, half she-devil,

so sayeth the rumor

mill. I hardly cared.

Ms. Rose was all

I could hope I might

one day be: aspen

physique, new penny

hair, aurora green

eyes, and hands that

could speak. She

walked on air. Ms

Rose shuttered old

windows, opened

portals undreamed of.

And just beyond,

what fantastic worlds!

I Met Her My Freshman Year

All wide-eyed and dim about starting high school,

a big new school, with polished hallways

and hulking lockers and doors that led

who-knew-where?

A scary new school, filled with towering

teachers and snickering students,

impossible schedules, tough expectations,

and endless possibilities.

The library, with its paper perfume,

whispered queries, and copy

machine shuffles, was the only familiar

place on the entire campus.

And there was Ms. Rose.

How can I help you?

Fresh off a fling with C. S.

Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle,

hungry for travel far from home,

I whispered, "Fantasy, please."

She smiled. Follow me.

I know just where to take you.

I shadowed her to Tolkien's

Middle-earth and Rowling's

School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,

places no upstanding Mormon should go.

When you finish those,

I'd be happy to show you more.

Fantasy Segued into Darker Dimensions

And authors who used three whole names:

Vivian Vande Velde, Annette Curtis Klause.

Mary Downing Hahn.

By my sophomore year, I was deep

into adult horror -- King, Koontz, Rice.

You must try classic horror,

insisted Ms. Rose.

Poe, Wells, Stoker. Stevenson. Shelley.

There's more to life than monsters.

You'll love these authors:

Burroughs. Dickens. Kipling. London.

Bradbury. Chaucer. Henry David Thoreau.

And these:

Jane Austen. Arthur Miller. Charlotte Brontë.

F. Scott Fitzgerald. J. D. Salinger.

By my junior year, I devoured increasingly

adult fare. Most, I hid under my dresser:

D. H. Lawrence. Truman Capote.

Ken Kesey. Jean Auel.

Mary Higgins Clark. Danielle Steel.

I Began

To view the world at large

through borrowed eyes,

eyes more like those

I wanted to own.

Hopeful.

I began

to see that it was more than

okay -- it was, in some circles,

expected -- to question my

little piece of the planet.

Empowered.

I began

to understand that I could

stretch if I wanted to, explore

if I dared, escape

if I just put one foot

in front of the other.

Enlightened.

I began

to realize that escape

might offer the only real

hope of freedom from my

supposed God-given roles --

wife and mother of as many

babies as my body could bear.

Emboldened.

I Also Began to Journal

Okay, one of the things expected of Latter-

Day Saints is keeping a journal.

But I'd always considered it just another

"supposed to," one not to worry much about.

Besides, what would I write in a book

everyone was allowed to read?

Some splendid nonfiction chronicle

about sharing a three-bedroom house

with six younger sisters, most of whom

I'd been required to diaper?

Some suspend-your-disbelief fiction

about how picture-perfect life was at home,

forget the whole dysfunctional truth

about Dad's alcohol-fueled tirades?

Some brilliant manifesto about how God

whispered sweet insights into my ear,

higher truths that I would hold on to forever,

once I'd shared them through testimony?

Or maybe they wanted trashy confessions --

Daydreams Designed by Satan.

Whatever. I'd never written but a few

words in my mandated diary.

Maybe it was the rebel in me.

Or maybe it was just the lazy in me.

But faithfully penning a journal

was the furthest thing from my mind.

Ms. Rose Had Other Ideas

One day I brought a stack of books,

most of them banned in decent LDS

households, to the checkout counter.

Ms. Rose looked up and smiled.

You are quite the reader, Pattyn.

You'll be a writer one day, I'll venture.

I shook my head. "Not me.

Who'd want to read anything

I have to say?"

She smiled. How about you?

Why don't you start

with a journal?

So I gave her the whole

lowdown about why journaling

was not my thing.

A very good reason to keep

a journal just for you. One

you don't have to write in.

A day or two later, she gave

me one -- plump, thin-lined,

with a plain denim cover.

Decorate it with your words,

she said. And don't be afraid

of what goes inside.

I Wasn't Sure What She Meant

Until I opened the stiff-paged volume

and started to write.

At first, rather ordinary fare

garnished the lines.

Feb. 6. Good day at school. Got an A

on my history paper.

Feb. 9. Roberta has strep throat. Great!

Now we'll all get it.

But as the year progressed, I began

to feel I was living in a stranger's body.

Mar. 15. Justin Proud smiled at me today.

I can't believe it! And I can't believe

how it made me feel. Kind of tingly all over,

like I had an itch I didn't want to scratch.

An itch you-know-where.

Mar. 17. I dreamed about Justin last night.

Dreamed he kissed me, and I kissed him back,

and I let him touch me all over my body

and I woke up all hot and blushing.

Blushing! Like I'd done something wrong.

Can a dream be wrong?

Aren't dreams God's way

of telling you things?

Justin Proud

Was one of the designated

"hot bods" on campus.

No surprise all the girls

hotly pursued that bod.

The only surprise was my

subconscious interest.

I mean, he was anything

but a good Mormon boy.

And I, allegedly being

a good Mormon girl,

was supposed to keep

my feminine thoughts pure.

Easy enough, while struggling

with stacks of books,

piles of paper, and mounds

of adolescent angst.

Easy enough, while chasing

after a herd of siblings,

each the product of lustful,

if legally married, behavior.

Easy enough, while watching

other girls pant after him.

But just how do you maintain

pure thoughts when you dream?

Copyright ©2006 by Ellen Hopkins

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