Tag Archives: young adult

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 December 8, 2013

Anwar and Daemon face off at the door to Anwar’s cell. Daemon’s certain that he has the upper hand, and he’s only too happy to oblige his queen in bringing her the prisoner.

Anwar eyed the threshold as the door creaked open. Every fiber of his being screamed for him to run, that it was now or never. But as Daemon’s massive hulk stepped through the frame, Anwar found himself retreating deeper into the cell. He had failed her yet again.

“Your presence is requested in the Great Hall,” Daemon sneered.

That he derived enjoyment from this exchange did not bode well for Anwar.

“I’m afraid that truly doesn’t fit in with my schedule. Perhaps another time?” Anwar bowed formally, but how his knees did knock. Could he hope to hide his cowardice for long?

Snippet Sunday – November 24, 2013

It won’t be long now. Anwar’s confinement is nearing its end. Why isn’t he happier about this?

A clang echoed in the outer chamber. Heavy footsteps entered the corridor above him. They walked as one, one footfall masking another. In all, Anwar counted five of them, a welcoming committee of Hespa’s design. He trained an eye on the barred window in the cell’s heavy door. The first flickers of a torch’s flame danced on the wall outside his cell, mocking him.

Five he had counted, yet only one had stepped into view – Daemon of Ahmnor. The glee on his face confirmed Anwar’s previous suspicions; Daemon had, indeed, awaited his return at the veil. No doubt he had anticipated the privilege of presenting Hespa with her prize. The fact that Anwar had returned alone must have highly disappointed him.

Snippet Sunday – November 17, 2013

When you find yourself at the mercy of a witch, it’s good to keep your humor in check . . .

It was rumored the witch had cells forged in the lower tunnels, reserved for traitors to the Crown, for those prisoners deserving of Hespa’s special attention. To find not only that those rumors were true, but that she now thought herself a queen? If not for his current predicament, Anwar might have found that amusing. It was almost more than he could bear.

Secured behind iron gates with armed guards – not to mention, a series of Hespa’s own enchantments – the sole viable escape route took the prisoner through the tainted waters of the U’rudhene. Only the most desperate would attempt such an escape.

His brow furrowed. To attempt such a thing would be madness, he thought, though he did enjoy a challenge. Perhaps Hespa had a sense of humor after all.

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 27, 2013

And we arrive at the second chapter of Once Upon Nowhere:  The Tombs

A foul stench rose to his nostrils, filling his senses. Must. Sweat. Fear. The Tombs, they called it, and rightly so, for few men ever emerged from the dank recesses of Hespa’s dungeon. And those who did escape with their lives pleaded for death in the end.

Anwar shuddered against bone-chilling cold. His limp form, clad in the sodden cloak, sprawled across a stone floor. The length of his captivity up to that point remained a mystery.

Snippet Sunday – October 20, 2013

We join Tori and her mother at the window. Ayn was trying to reassure her that the figure below her window last night was just a trick of the storm.

Ayn reached over and played with a curl that had fallen in Tori’s face. “Even into full-grown men in cloaks.” She pecked Tori on the forehead before rushing to the door. “I’m sure it was nothing.”

But Tori thought she had detected caution in her voice. Like, perhaps, she suspected what her daughter had been saying was true.

Alone once more, Tori turned to the window, but only blue skies and drying puddles greeted her this morning, none of the menace that she had faced only hours before. “He was real,” she repeated, as if to set her mind at rest. “I know he was real.”