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BURNED by Ellen Hopkins

BURNED

By Ellen Hopkins

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0354-2
Publisher: McElderry

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)