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How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.
Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.
Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.
What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?
In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.
Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.
Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!
The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN is filled with emotional punches, and it’s impossible not to be deeply effected by them in the best way. This story is brilliantly woven into a slow revelation of personal as well as sexual identity. Themes of friendship, love, loyalty, teen pregnancy, and family are key elements. Who am I? Who loves me? What does it mean to be loved? What IS love?
Abuse also comes into play, explored and revealed so that the victim comes to realize what she thought of as love was really anger, control, hate.
——Deep breath. This book. So much emotion. So many powerful messages. So important.
Once again, Ellen Hopkins pens characters who feel so real, it take imagination to believe that they don’t really exist, that you’re reading about them in a novel, not a journal of their life. Ariel is at the center of this story and readers will feel her confusion, her attraction, her sense of loyalty, friendships, love, fear. Her father is a despicable person. I have so many emotions wrapped up with him that I may need to amend this review later as I process my emotions.
From Monica to Zelda to Gabe to Hillary, I love each of these secondary characters for different reasons. Each one has a very special role in Ariel’s lives. They change her profoundly. You need to read this novel to understand each one’s impact.
And then there’s Maya’s story—at first separate, but then it converges into Ariel’s. PAINFUL! POWERFUL! DEEPLY MOVING! Sad. But then again, HOPEFUL.
Ellen Hopkins never shirks away from the tough topics. Be prepared to think. I highly, highly recommend this novel and all of her novels.
View all my reviews
1/23: Such A Novel Idea – Review
1/24: Megnificent Books – Character Closet
1/25: Who R U Blog – Review
1/26: Wandering Bark Books – Playlist
1/27: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review
1/30: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5
1/31: Actin’ Up With Books – Review
2/1: Red House Books – Top 10
2/2: The Book Return – Review
2/3: Bookiemoki – Q&A
The First Book I Ever Wrote: Was in third grade. It was titled: “The Book of Swear Words,” where I wrote down every curse word I could think of, along with a carefully crafted definition. I showed it to my teacher, beaming with pride. He sent me to the principal’s office and called my parents into school. I was banned from the playground for two weeks and my book was destroyed. It obviously didn’t kill my writing ambitions.
Author’s Note: Can be read as book three of the First Comes Love series, or as a standalone .
College baseball player, Gray Thomas, had to go far out into left field to find a girl like Dylan, the ex-love-of-his-life. More than a year later, literally at a crossroads, they find each other together on a journey that is a pause between a painful past and an uncertain future. In this sexy and offbeat summer read, Gray and Dylan discover that a destination isn’t always a place. More often, it’s a person. Now it’s time for them to finally decide, is this forever?
Finally, Forever is the third book about Gray and Dylan by Katie Kacvinsky, but can absolutely be read as a standalone novel. So, don’t think, “Oh, I can’t read this (yet) because I haven’t read the first two books.” Nope, that’s not at all necessary. Katie does a fabulous job bringing readers into the story without any need to summarize what’s going on. Jump right in!
And let me tell you, I love these characters. They are as opposite as day and night, yet their differences bring out the best in one another. I also love that they have an appreciation and respect for those differences. They know each other so well and are so connected, that apart they’re like two people submerged in water, fighting their way to the surface to breathe. Ahh, this is romance/love at its finest.
Dylan (named for Bob Dylan – her mom’s favorite musician) is one of the quirkiest, free spirited, delightful characters I’ve ever read. The fact that she falls for Gray, a more straight-laced, down-to-earth, baseball player, and he falls for her, is . . . well . . . a perfect pairing!
There’s a wonderful cast of secondary characters. Almost immediately, we’re introduced to Nick, who jumps right in as Dylan’s boyfriend. The tales we weave! Then there’s Dylan’s unwed pregnant sister Serena, who adds quite a bit of sparkle to the story. So does Rachel, Gray’s coach’s daughter. I’m being vague, but don’t make any assumptions here. Remember that phrase – If you assume you could make an ass out of you and me? Then there’s Mike, the comedian, Serena’s older-by-ten-years boyfriend.
I can’t begin to tell you how many yummy moments there are in this novel. Like the time Dylan and Gray get caught in a horrific storm, or Dylan picking up a hitchhiker, or the hospital scenes when Serena gives birth. There are moments when you’ll feel your heart jabbed with a icepick and so many more when you’ll be sighing with joy! And yes, you will laugh! If you don’t, well . . . let’s talk. For those who are really into music, you’ll appreciate all the musical references.
This book is geared toward young adults eighteen and older. But there are plenty of young adult novels that are much more graphic than this. So if you’re in high school and have read books Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, then you’re fine. There are details of childbirth, sexual references between soul mates. You decide!
Dylan and Gray definitely make my list for favorite book couples.
If you love a romance with characters with personality, then you’ll love Finally, Forever!
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Monday, April 28 Kimberleyfaye Reads FF playlist/teaser
Tuesday, April 29 Waiting For Wentworth Post/discussion
Wednesday, April 30 Liza Wiemer (author) Post/discussion
Thursday, May 1 Book Nerds Across America Post/discussion
Friday, May 2 Actin’ Up With Books 10 Facts About Gray and Dylan
Saturday, May 3 Please Another Book Character interview
Monday, May 5 Heidi McLaughlin (author) Review/Post
Tuesday, May 6 A Booklovers’ Review 10 Facts about Finally, Forever
Wednesday, May 7 The Reading Date Guest Post about cover design
Thursday, May 8 Good Choice Reading Post/Discussion
Friday, May 9 Katie Kacvinsky, Release Day
Monday, May 12 Reading Teen Teaser/Giveaway
Tuesday, May 13 Stuck in YA Books Post/Discussion
Wednesday, May 14 A Backwards Story Post/Discussion
Author Holly Cupala
Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret (HarperTeen 2010), didn’t shy away from answering the five tough questions below. I found her answers to be meaningful, thought provoking, authentic. Thank you Holly!
I brought Tell Me a Secret to Starbucks to read while I waited for a friend to join me. I didn’t want to put it down! When my friend was busy adding cream and sugar to her coffee, I snuck in a few more sentences. After she left I decided I wasn’t leaving Starbucks until I finished the book.
This YA novel will grab ahold of your heart and squeeze tight. I held my breath and swiped away more than a few tears, not wanting to be overtly public and sob out loud. The characters come to life and become a part of you. This is not a book where you can be indifferent. Holly addresses tough issues of sisterhood, faith, friendship, pregnancy, secrets, dreams, and identity. There is something for everyone in this novel – lessons to take to heart as long as you look for meaning. Don’t miss Tell Me a Secret. It’s a must read for YA, parents, and teachers.
1. In Tell Me a Secret there are several secrets. What do you feel should be the “rule of thumb” for keeping or sharing secrets with others?
Liza, you’re not going to let me off easy! I think there are a continuum of secrets, ranging from harmless to dangerous, and it can be so difficult to determine where on that continuum someone else’s secret is. There are the obvious ones: physical abuse. Date rape. Life-threatening habits. But what about the subtle ones? Like emotional abuse? If a friend told me a secret, I would do my best to help my friend make healthy decisions and to stick by them as they dealt with the consequences. If a friend is sharing a secret with you, they may be asking for help. Trust your instincts.
2. Your MC, Rand (Miranda) discovers that she is pregnant. What are some dos and don’ts for a pregnant teen or for a friend of a pregnant teen?
Miranda doesn’t have very many people she can trust in the novel—she’s lost her best friend, the baby’s father avoids her, and her new friend is not what she seems to be. Her mother is locked behind a wall of her own grief and shame, and worst of all, the sister she trusted and looked up to most is gone. Miranda eventually seeks out her own support network and finds a friend in the last person she expects.
If I had a pregnant teen friend, I would encourage her to find a friend, mentor, or family member she could trust to help her through the difficult decisions and processes of a pregnancy. Whatever she chose, there would be consequences—a good friend would help her. On the other side, friends can be a lifeline through unexpected circumstances. If you are a friend, you may be more important than you know. True friendship shines through adversity, and there is hope on the other side.
3. Rand made quite a few mistakes that were painful lessons for her. What do you think a YA can learn from mistakes and how can they move past them or learn from them?
Miranda sees flaws in others but is blind to her own, until extreme circumstances awaken her vision. I think most of us, to a greater or lesser degree, don’t really see our own mistakes. What’s that saying? We judge others by their actions, and we judge ourselves by our intentions. To see one’s own mistakes is a powerful kind of wisdom, one that opens doors for helping others. I think one of the most painful lessons for Rand—but also the one that sets her free—is that she can’t find herself in other people. For much of the story she wonders, what would Xanda do? When she begins to make her own choices, she finds a surprising strength.
4. Tell Me A Secret also is a novel about the meaning of friendship. What warning signs should a YA look for in their relationships that someone is not a true friend?
True, there are some wicked friends in Tell Me a Secret! Some of the warning signs? When you feel bad or sad or small or ashamed whenever you’re around that person. When it’s all about them. When they aren’t interested in what is important to you. When they blow off your concerns about their behavior. So many more, but it can be so hard to recognize when you’re in the middle of it.
When I was in high school, I hung out with a group of girls that were exactly like what I just described, but for some reason I just didn’t see it. I wanted things to get better. I thought if I could just work a little harder, or say the right thing, we would have a great friendship. Finally a girl I met in my English class, and who I talked with all the time, said, “Why do you even hang out with them? Why don’t you hang out with me and my friends?” I did, and she is still my very best friend. (In fact, we now say our friendship is over 21. J)
5. Rand is forced to take a job at a bank and give up her dreams of going to art school. There’s a great lesson here about pursuing your dreams. What’s your best advice to YA who have dreams, but are not sure that they actually can make them happen?
Thanks, Liza! I hope, if anything, that this book inspires readers to pursue their purpose in life. It doesn’t come easy. Sometimes I think it takes a whole lifetime to discover it, but there are glimpses. In our dreams, in our passions, in our talents. Miranda makes a decision that completely shuts one door—but what she gains is determination and courage to follow another course. The job turns out to be an asset to her, and in a way, she finds out the only person truly responsible for her future is herself. I would wish that for every person longing to pursue a dream.