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.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
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,
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.
were like guardian
with graying hair
and beady eyes,
and always ready
to recommend new
to gaze through.
A. A. Milne. Beatrix
Grahame. E. B.
Cleary. Eve Bunting.
Then I started high
school, where the
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
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
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.
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.
To view the world at large
through borrowed eyes,
eyes more like those
I wanted to own.
to see that it was more than
okay -- it was, in some circles,
expected -- to question my
little piece of the planet.
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.
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.
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?
Was one of the designated
"hot bods" on campus.
No surprise all the girls
hotly pursued that bod.
The only surprise was my
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
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to Burned by Ellen Hopkins
ABOUT THE BOOK
Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten, a Mormon teen, spends most of her time caring for her younger siblings and resenting her mother’s submissive role and her father’s abusive behavior. Like many teen girls, Pattyn has a sex dream about a boy; however, raised in a household with strict religious beliefs, Pattyn wonders if dreaming about sex is wrong and begins asking questions about sex, God, a woman’s role, and love. Afraid of her alcoholic and abusive father and detached from her overworked and depressed mother, Pattyn poses questions to Brother Prior but receives no satisfactory answers. Derek Colthorpe begins paying attention to Pattyn; though Pattyn knows what she feels is lust and not love, her need to be with him is intense. When Pattyn’s father catches her in a compromising position with Derek, a non-Mormon teen, tensions between Pattyn and her father escalate, and he sends her to spend the summer on a ranch with an aunt she does not know. Pattyn is expected to find salvation and redemption during her time in rural Nevada, but Aunt J, opposing the rigidity of her brother’s religion, teaches Pattyn about acceptance and love. Pattyn falls in love with Ethan, the son of Aunt J’s old friend, but knowing her mother and siblings need her help and are victims of her father’s abuse, she returns to her family at the end of summer, leaving Ethan behind. Pattyn stays in contact with Ethan via phone, but when events take a tragic turn, Pattyn learns, despite her time with her aunt, that she cannot escape her demons.
When bad things happen to good people, people sometimes comment that “life is not fair.” What impact, however, does “randomness,” the idea that bad things happen randomly to both “good” and “bad” people, have on this comment?
Can you think of a time in which you felt betrayed? Explain. A time in which you believed a turn of events was unfair? Explain.
In what way is Pattyn’s life different from that of the typical teenage girl? How is it similar? How does she fit in at her school?
A librarian encourages Pattyn to read and gives her a journal in which to write her thoughts. What doors does the librarian open for Pattyn?
Why does Pattyn resent her mother’s role as a parent and wife? Speculate as to why Pattyn does not accept a similar life for herself.
How is Pattyn confused by the concept of free will?
Pattyn knows that she is not in love with Derek Colthorpe, and yet she is attracted to him. What accounts for this attraction? How does Derek fill a void?
Despite Pattyn’s resentment toward her father, she still yearns for his acceptance. Cite a passage that illustrates her longing for her father’s attention.
What accounts for her parents’ unhappiness?
Aunt J is intuitive. She understands Pattyn’s confusion and sense of guilt and her need to be loved and to belong. What common experiences connect Aunt J and her niece?
How is Pattyn’s life different on the ranch with Aunt J? How does Pattyn grow during the summer with her aunt?
How does Aunt J help Pattyn celebrate her birthday? Why does her aunt spend so much on her?
What does Pattyn learn about boy/girl relationships from Ethan? Why does Aunt J encourage their relationship?
Compare and contrast Derek and Ethan.
Why does Pattyn feel a need to return home to her family, knowing she has escaped her father’s abusive behavior and found love and acceptance in her aunt’s house?
Aunt J tells Pattyn that Pattyn gave Aunt J her life back. What does Aunt J mean?
Is Pattyn able to stand up against her father’s abuse once she returns home? Why or why not?
What happens at the end of the story that sends Pattyn spiraling back down? How does she feel betrayed?
Write a follow-up chapter to the last scene in the book that sets up a sequel in which Pattyn is saved. What would need to happen in this chapter to turn the story around?
Research the effects of emotional abuse on children. What accounts for a person being raised in an abusive environment not feeling “good enough” or “deserving”? If children do not come to terms with these feelings, how might these feelings impact them in adult relationships? What differences might exist between men and women?
Research nuclear testing in the state of Nevada. How have people and the environment been affected, and how has the government made compensation? What measures have been put in place in our country to protect citizens from nuclear disaster?
Research summer experiences (camps for teens, for example) that might help arm young people who have grown up in wounded families with stronger coping skills? How would one go about finding out which of these experiences would be helpful and which might prove more damaging?
Guide prepared by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
this is one fast paced book. there never seems to be a be a dull moment. some of the stuff seems pretty unrealistic, but not impossible. twists and turns like you wouldnt believe. surprise ending. the last page youll have to read a few times over to truly understand. id recommend as a read. ps-not all mormons are like what they are depicted as in this book.
"Burned", by Ellen Hopkins, is a book that caught my attention while I was scanning around aimlessly in a large bookstore -- "Paradise Lost" cradled neatly in my hands. I caught a glimpse, then retreated. Caught another glimpse, and retreated again. Finally, I gave in. I'm glad I did. Ellen Hopkins wrote a book of a young girl's journey into a dark, menacing hole and liberation out of it. The protagonist relates years of oppression and toil, longing for an escape. She acts out. She gets sent away -- apparently -- to heaven. She meets the perfect guy. She lives in the perfect place. For a while, everything is perfect. However, happiness seldom lasts forever. The rug gets ripped out from beneath her, and that's the end. Mind you, this is just a skeletal summary of a much more engrossing book. I've seen reviewers mock the writer relating everything as "perfect". They don't like how the situation goes from one extreme to another, and so quickly! However, you must remember that this is from Patton's point-of-view. From the point of view of a character, a young teenage girl, who has never experienced such emotions in her life. I concluded that these extremes were only Hopkins' way of mimicking a blossoming girl's mind-set. One deeply in love, blinded by it. Impassioned by it. One extreme to another. That was just MY rationalization of the writing style. I'm sure that this will not be everyone's cup of tea. Regardless, I'm sure many will still find "Burned" to be a fantastic read. It's written creatively, it's short and sweet, and you'll be immersed. In fact, I finished it in two days. Give it a try. Buy it, or at least borrow it from your local library. It's worth a shot. P.S. Excuse any grammatical errors. :)
This book touched my heart like no other. Very well written of course, this author is an amazing writer. In this book you fall in love with the chargers and follow along like it's part of your life. I wasn't able to put this one down from the second I picked it up. I was very sad at the end of the book as well as shocked. I couldn't believe what happened... and I had to reread the ending to make sure that I read it right. I cried and laughed and thought about this book for two more days after it ended. It's a book that stays with you and if makes you feel sorry for people things like this happens to.
This is literally the absolute BEST book I've ever read. It is so emotional and depressing but I couldn't put the book down! I finished the book in less than a day and I loved the book.
I read this book two years ago and still remember every minute of it i borrowed and didnt buy the book and its so tempting to buy it just to read it again it is beautifuly written takes your breath away every minute your not reading it you are dying to have it in your hand again this might just be one of the best books i ever read and ive read alot!
As a young woman who grew up in a Mormon household and feeling like a complete outcast, due to the lack of communication in the home, I found this book EXTREMELY relatable! All one needs is a chance to be one's self and find their own identify. I believe the Mormon faith relies on one doing what they are told and not learning to do as they 'believe to be right' - I cannot speak for other religions, as I only know of the Mormon faith, however I believe there are a lot of things that get 'brushed under the rug' so to speak in many religions, not only Mormon. Very good read...especially for anyone who has felt like an outcast at anytime in their life!! OUTSTANDING!!!
and that meets one of my requirements for a good book. This one was as excellent as Crank. I really felt for Pattyn and her multiple predicaments. Having know abuse myself and seen it happen to others, I consider it a very accurate portrayl of alcoholism. The book was not very kind to the LDS church, but I believe it was used because it has been caught in its hypocrisy more than once and Hopkins used that as one of the main drives of Pattyn's motivations in the book. Killer ending though. I wouldn't have bought the book if I was looking for happily ever after, not after reading Crank. Highly recommended.
Everyone of her books are such an awesome read. I cant decide on which of her books are the best. Read all! You wont be disappointed!
the beginning was pretty interesting, i must admit. but things just went downhill from there.when the main character, patton, arrives at her aunt's house, things got very predictable. the boy she falls for is perfect, their relationship is perfect, blah blah blah. that was the worst thing about the book, that their relationship had no flaws whatsoever-they were a perfect, lovely little match, despite all the main characters going ons about how un-worthy she is-monotonous to say the least, idiotic ramblings to be blunt. and then the ending! just came flying out of nowhere. i grew to dislike patton greatly, just as i grew to dislike this book.
I had high hopes when I started this book. I liked Payton and I wanted to see her succeed. I wanted her to be happy. When I finished the book, I was extremely disappointed, not to mention angry. I must've cried for five minutes. Ellen Hopkins is an amazing writer but I don't see the point of this book. All of that build-up for a terrible, depressing ending? If you like horrible endings that are likely to provoke feelings of depression, then I recommend this book for you. If not, stay far far away.
I cried untill my mom came in to see if i was ok. Thats how good this book is!
very dramatic it shows you some of the hidden truths in life.The curiosity nd the wonder in the story brings you into the setting. ME personally i litterally am in love with the troubles and struggles the characters face in the amazing book
Burned by Ellen Hopkins, is such an amazing book. once you pick up this book and start to read you wouldnt want to put it down. Like i did. This book is full of emotions ,suspence and thrills, Fighting her way through True Love and abuse with an unforgetable end you cant not miss. You are able to feel the pain Pattyn(Main Character) is feeling and what she is going through. I honestly LOVE this book and it is so great it became one of my favorite books and i know for shure you will love it as well.
Wow were to begin. Well first, Claps for Ellen Hopkins I am 16 years old and usely dont read all the books that an author writes. I can say I have read all of her books and would read them over and over again. But Burned wow this book was amazingly emotional and just well written. Now I wouldnt recommend any of Ellen Hopkins books for teens under the age of 14. But I would recommend this book highly for teens to read and not this just this but all of them. They all have a good meanings to them
Alright, I will not argue with the people here who say this book was a page turner becasue it was. Burned was addicting and a memorable book. However, there was just something about it that I didn't quite understand. Sure people have bad stuff happen to them, but Pattyn just happened to have the worst life ever? I mean, come on Hopkins, all of this bad stuff can't happen to just one person in a period of a year! the odds of this stuff actually happening to one single teenaged girl is literaly one in a million. I think if she toned it down a bit, maybe canging Pattn's life so it would be a bit more realistic, I would have enjoyed it more. However, I just couldn't buy that all of that crap could happen to one girl in a year.
I ordered this book specifically because I'm a HUGE fan of Ellen Hopkins and her books Crank and Glass. First things first, this book in no way compares to either. Despite it's length it lacked depth, detail, emotion, and quite frankly I lost interest early on. While this should be a very relatable book, [sex, struggle with religion, abusive home, being an outcast, ect.], it was all but in my opinion. I couldn't feel what the character felt. It's a beautiful plot but so poorly written. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to say I read it- but I do feel I wasted my money and most of my friends agree that this is our least favourite of all of her books. [i'm the only one out of us who hasn't read impulse, but they all assure me it's amazing.] All I can say is I would recommend borrowing it from a friend/library before buying it.
Frankly, I dont even understand why this book is called BURNED. The title has noting to do with the book. I had previously read other books by this author, and I really thought this book would be better than it was. It is a good book if you r looking for something to read, though.
I stopped reading after five pages-the print was awful and the words made no sense.
I listened to this on CD, read by Laura Flanagan and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have read that a lot of people have problems with the ending, and without saying so much that I spoil it, I think the ending was appropriate; yes, it was rather melodramatic as someone below mentions, but how much do we really know about what makes someone snap and do the utterly unthinkable? I think the book shows that we don't always know as much about someone as we think we do. Some of the sweetest individuals can end up doing some of the most horrible things. Overall, this is a great book. Easy to follow and listen to. I'll consider myself an official fan of Ellen Hopkins now. Can't wait to get to the next one!
This book is about a mormon girl named Pattyn who gets abused at home. She has 5 younger sisters and her careless mother is pregnant with another one. She goes and lives on a ranch and ends up having a btter life. Good book.
A Mormon extremist home and community, and a teen finally seeing a different way to life is the subject of Burned. Pattyn Van Stratten is questioning most everything she has been taught and the way she has been raised. Her abusive and alcoholic father catches Pattyn with a boy and sends her away for the summer to his sister's ranch. He expects her to find herself and salvation in wild west Nevada. Pattyn does find herself but salvation? She meets Ethan, her soul mate. She also experiences the love of a parent in Aunt J. At summers end all of this ends for Pattyn who returns home. What happens next will completely change her life and the lives of everyone in her family. On a . . . oops, almost told you. Go read it yourself.A cautionary tale of the restraints religion and home can put on a child, especially a teen. The entire story is written in poetry, making the book a fast read despite it's numerous pages. The poems are amazing. Some take on shapes and others have double meanings or can be read from side to side and from top to bottom both with the same meaning. Ms. Hopkin's work is fascinating and amazing. The subjects she tackles are dark, desperate, sad, and a commentary on society, usually the underbelly most people do not see or wish to ignore. Of all of her novels, this one may actually be the "lightest" in terms of subject.This is definitely NOT for anyone under 15.
Ellen Hopkins books are very unique because she writes her story as poems. And her books are different than any others that I've read! The stories she writes are the cold truth of what happens to teenagers if they don't learn to say no to things like drugs and alchohol. When I read Burned, it was a big wake-up call to me because I know all the consequences already, but this book really brought them into the light and said what can go wrong by doing things that you know your not supposed to, and mayube if people that do drugs or alchohol read this, they would be better informed of real life situations that could happen.
Burned by Ellen Hopkins is a wonderful book that takes a look into a different type of lifestyle of a stalwart Mormon girl. It is a shocking story of the cruelity shown to women of this religious groups extremes and made me feel as if I was it the story. This book was truely a work of art with a shockingly sad ending that leaves the reader open-mouthed and empowered.
Burned is an ok read I have enjoyed Hopkins other books a little more.....Raised in a strict, abusive Mormon household, a teenage girl starts to question her religion and struggles to find her pathway through life. Burned is a book about a teenage girl named Pattyn who is raised with her abusive father, uncaring mother, and 5 younger sisters with one on the way. She goes to live with her an reluctantly .... but as the book unfolds she begins to have some experiances that will change her life forever.
written in journal format wonderful books