The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

by Andrea Bledsoe King

 

 

 

 

 

I have always loved Ellen Hopkins’ novels, starting with her first YA novel, Crank, which was loosely based on her own daughter’s addiction to crystal meth. Because Hopkins has experienced this heartache firsthand as a mother of an addict, her novels are so gut wrenching and raw.

Reviewing You put me on another emotional rollercoaster ride. Alternating between Ariel’s POV written in free verse and Maya’s POV in prose, Hopkins tells another heartbreaker. Ariel has always been with her overprotective, ex-military father since her mother abandoned them when Ariel was just a baby. Ariel and Mark have always been on the move, never allowing her to make real friends or feel at home anywhere. Now that she has stayed in the same school her junior year, Ariel is feeling the rush of first love- with her best friend, Monica, and Gabe, a new guy on the scene. Will it all go up in smoke like the rest of her past has done?

Maya is 17 years old and schemes to get pregnant with an older soldier’s baby to escape her abusive mother. Although Jason marries her and seems decent at first, Maya soon feels isolated on the army base with no car or friends but a newborn daughter to keep her occupied.  Maya soon realizes she must protect Casey from Jason even if it means she has to put herself in harm’s way.

In a most twisted turn of events, Ariel and Maya meet. I refuse to tell you their connection but it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! Once again, author Ellen Hopkins has used elements from her own life to write a touching and heartfelt story so be sure to read every single page.

Hats off to Ellen Hopkins’ for writing another near-600 page novel that I consumed in 2 days!

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