This was a hard list to narrow down. Ellen Hopkins has six verse novels on the shelves, and I'm not sure how to choose. But I had to pick one, and I pick Burned.
Pattyn is caught in a world where abuse, subservience to men, and a rigid church hierarchy reign. Moreover, she'll do anything to prove herself to the person she most cares for -- the person who most abuses her -- her father. When she's suspended from school, her parents send her to live with an aunt in rural Nevada. There, she finds what she's never had her whole life: acceptance, love, her youth. And, through her aunt's kindness and love, Pattyn learns to understand more about her dysfunctional family and acceptance of her father and mother.
Nevertheless, a summer of youth isn't enough, and in the end, after the fairy tale is over, Pattyn is left with a choice that will inevitably make the difference between life and death.
This is an incredibly challenging novel because it doesn't take an easy route, happy-ending trail. Pattyn is tragic and leaves the reader wishing so many things could've been different in Pattyn's life. And Hopkins is a poet; her words are sparing, each one loaded with meaning.
A NYT best seller, Ellen's words have reached youth and adults alike across the states.
When you were almost grown, did you ever sit in a bubble bath, perspiration pooling, 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?