Tag Archives: fiction

Ellen Hopkin’s Burned

I felt angry, frustrated. I felt I didn’t belong, not in my church, not in my home, not in my skin.

Pattyn Von Stratten, sixteen, is the oldest of seven girls. Raised in an abusive home by an alcoholic father and passive mother, Pattyn begins to question everything she’d always taken at face value:  God, love, sex, her role as a woman in their Mormon faith.

Her protests fall on deaf ears as she is whisked away to spend the summer with an aunt she doesn’t know. But it is here that she finds acceptance and that she is worthy of being loved. It is here she blossoms into womanhood. It is here she finds ‘forever love’.

But summer can’t last forever . . .

A gripping coming-of-age tale, Burned is written in poetic form and, surprisingly, at 532 pages, a quick read. Hopkins weaves a tight-knit, engaging storyline that will keep readers in their seats; their eyes, glued to the page. (I read it in less than twenty-four hours.)

There aren’t any chapters in this book, only titles, which are actually the first line of a particular entry. Each separate entry takes a different form and must be read accordingly. I found the page titled Fireworks difficult to decipher. I’m certain there’s an order, though, in which to read the words, to make a coherent thought!

Run, don’t walk, to purchase this book. And while you’re at it, pick up copies of Crank, Impulse, Glass, Identical and any other books with this author’s name.



Snippet Sunday – February 2, 2014

This is a snippet from Out of Time, my 2011, NaNoWriMo. I had accepted a dare:  Write an entire chapter about the cooking of an egg.  

If she weren’t famished, and his antics unbelievably deplorable, it would be almost comical. Vanessa heaved a heavy sigh and slapped the newspaper onto the table. “Get out a bowl and two eggs,” she said.

Jeremy was about to smash the eggs together when she put up her hand. “One at a time, crack the eggs on the side of the bowl.”

On Jeremy’s first try, the shell disintegrated in his hand. Egg ran over his fingers and onto the counter.

“Take the other egg,” she said through gritted teeth.

“It’s no use,” he grumbled. “I can’t do this.”

“For goodness sake, Jeremy, this isn’t rocket science. It’s breakfast.”

‘Well, apparently, I can’t do breakfast.”

Snippet Sunday – November 10, 2013

The witch, Hespa, has had Anwar thrown into a dungeon known as the Tombs.  He’s cold. He’s alone. But does he have what it takes to survive?

Did he dare cross the witch with so much at stake? As quickly as the thought materialized, he dismissed it as folly. A man knew his limitations.

An icy chill coursed through his body. Anwar cast off his cloak. His numbed hands trembled as he attempted to warm his arms, his thighs. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, anything to keep his blood flowing.

Then he heard it. The U’rudhene. Its steady dripping into the cells, a constant reminder to the condemned that their fate rested solely in the hands of the witch.

Snippet Sunday – November 3, 2013

When last we saw Anwar, he had awakened in The Tombs, a dungeon the witch Hespa had specially forged for her prisoners.

He winced as his hand snaked toward a throbbing wound on the back of his head. It was wet with blood. Daemon must have awaited his return at the veil. Anwar doubted the oaf had acted on his own accord. His fealty belonged to the witch.

His eyes adjusted easily to the darkness – a necessity in his profession – though, to Anwar, one cell looked much the same as any other, with one exception. Hespa preferred floors of jagged stone to those of packed earth. Unshod feet assured a prisoner’s inability to steal surreptitiously away. Anwar wriggled his toes, tucked safely inside his scuffed boots. That meant only one thing. He still fit in her plans.

Snippet Sunday – October 13, 2013

The storm has ended. A new day arises. Tori hastens to the sill, but the man she glimpsed the night before has vanished. Perhaps it was as her mother said, just a dream. But what if it wasn’t? 

Ayn joined her at the sill, glancing over Tori’s shoulder at the promise of a new day. “There’s no one out there, sweetheart,”” she said.

“Well, no . . . not now.”

“And not last night either. Shadows twist themselves into all sorts of shapes during a storm.”

Tori wasn’t convinced. “Even into full-grown men?”

 “Even into full-grown men.”

“In cloaks?” Tori added.

The smile on her mother’s lips faltered. . .

Snippet Sunday – October 6, 2013

Continuing on with Once Upon Nowhere, I skipped ahead a few paragraphs for today’s snippet. Twelve-year-old Tori, already restless because of the storm, is now faced with something even more frightening. Surely, this can’t be good.

Breathless, Tori anticipated the next illumination, her forehead pressed to the cool glass. For a fleeting moment, night became day. She peered through a tangle of limbs to a patch of ground beneath her window.

That was the first time she saw him, his cloak so heavily drenched that it clung to his slight frame. He stared at the house, motionless, as though he were simply another stone statue in the city park.

The light failed. Tori’s legs were heavy with fear, her mouth bone dry. Her feeble attempt to call her mother ended in a croak. Still, Tori’s eyes remained fixed on the veiled figure below her window.

Snippet Sunday – September 29, 2013

Could it be time for another snippet already? I hope you’re as excited as I am with the progression of Once Upon Nowhere. Here we find Tori Lawson, a bit melancholy as of late, still fighting the doldrums over this latest move. 

Even without the use of a lamp, she found the bedroom’s dingy wallpaper hideous. It reminded Tori of Old Lady McClain, whose own bedraggled house towered over the one Tori and her mother had only recently abandoned. She ran a hand over the yellowed print. Strawberries. Who puts strawberried wallpaper in a bedroom?

Old Lady McClain. That’s who.

The neighborhood kids were convinced she was a witch. Though Tori had never seen evidence to the contrary, her mother assured her that Hortense McClain was merely an elderly woman who preferred the company of cats.  And there were a lot of cats.

Yes, this wallpaper screamed of Old Lady McClain, and now Tori was stuck with it.