REVIEW: “Burned” by Ellen Hopkins

January 31, 2009

My mother was kind enough to pick a copy up for me a few days ago. I devoured the whole book in one day. I was glued to just about every page as I was addicted to Ethan and Pattyn’s romance, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Pattyn Von Stratten is a good Mormon girl. She feels plain,as she takes care of her stay-at-home mother’s jobs like cleaning, washing clothes, and taking care of her six younger siblings (technically five) along with the help of her favorite sister. While her mother lays around the house all day. When her father comes home with “Joannie” most nights, there is trouble. The kids are rushed back to their rooms as their mother takes the blow. The abuse. Pattyn has her first sex dream, and it involves her school crush. Though instead of kissing Justin, it is Derrick who steals her heart for the moment. After the first kiss there are a lot more, with tequila and beer along the way. One day her father finds her in the said, “compromising position”, and things keep going in a downward spiral for Pattyn until finally her father sends her to live with her Aunt J for the summer.

Living with Pattyn’s Aunt J was supposed to be a punishment not a reward, but things start to go Pattyn’s way. Then she meets Ethan. This can’t just be a summer fling, right? Right. Ethan shows Pattyn love, more than she had asked for. Though if her father were to ever find out she was dating than, Ethan who was not Mormon, they both would be dead. Literally. Pattyn has to go back home at the end of summer vacation. *** SPOILER ALERT*** As Pattyn takes the abuse from her father, bruises and blood are left. After that she finds out she is pregnant. Pregnant with Ethan’s baby. Plans are made for Ethan to come down and get Pattyn one day after school to take some time to ponder what they are going to do. Not noticing someone has taken off their licence plates, the police attempt to pull Ethan and Pattyn over during their “escape” drive. Pattyn orders Ethan not to stop, go faster. Until the accident. Ethan and the baby are both gone, dead. Pattyn is devastated (so was I) and decides life no longer matters….

I absolutely adored this book. I was intrigued with Pattyn and Ethan’s romance, which I wish could be real ALL the time. I loved her Aunt J, she reminded me of the woman who played Bella’s (Twilight) mother IN THE MOVIE. Happy, outgoing, smart, loving. I wish I had an aunt like that, cross that, I do. I was terribly annoyed that her mother, her sister, nor her own self told anyone (minus Ethan) about their beatings from their father/husband. This book explored the emotions of  joy, excitement, lust and love, complete with anger, hurt, devastation, and tragedy. Weaving together a masterpiece, which I would recommend to any Ellen Hopkins fans or just someone looking for a quick yet intriguing and beautiful read. FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS.


What a Day

January 29, 2009

Today I was shadowing at the school I will go to next school year. It was nerve wracking thinking about it, even though I was only going to follow a girl around her school all day. I had to be awake by six thirty this morning to make it on time. School starts at 7:10 for them, which sucks for me. The school is in the downtown area which is about a twenty minute drive.

I arrived at the school building feeling panicky, my mouth kept twitching with anxiety. (What a wuss!) I had to go through the metal detectors, then into the office where I waited for a girl named Rose. I stood there with my little bag which held a couple pens, a notebook, my lunch, and a book (“Burned” by Ellen Hopkins to be exact). When Rose arrived my mother signed a slip and left. She turned and looked at me, smiled, and spoke, “Your lip just twitched.” then gave me a half hug. Rose and I were then asked to the guidance counselor’s office to be asked questions about the shadowing. It took a couple minutes, but was taken care of with a phone call to my mother.

While I was in a few of her classes I had time to make a couple journal entries. My first was in her French class, first period.

Journal entry #1

There isn’t one boy in the classroom. I looked around the room several times to see all girls populating the classroom. The class was interesting. When they spoke in French it sounded intriguing, minus the fact I hadn’t a clue what they were saying. The words that were flowing off their tongues sounded so… hmmm… interesting, though that isn’t the right word. Oh well. The teacher seemed nice I suppose, though I haven’t known her long enough. Challenging for sure, at least from my perspective. Maybe this is a class I might want to think about taking up, it is just the comprehending part I’m worried about. The students were reading from their books, as the teacher would call out names to read sentences (some girls were obviously unsure about what they were reading). Then we had to listen to an audio tape and identify what they were saying. To end class, they played a game where the teacher would call out a word in French and the first person to write out the word in English, correctly, would earn their team a point.

 SCHEDULE 7:10 -2:10

– French

– Health

– ??

– Band

– Lunch

– Latin

– Geography

– English

A couple hours passed and I didn’t write a thing, but I did read. Health was scary. The kids were crazy, loud, rude, creepy, disrespectful. The whole deal. I just sat there staring at the pages I was easily reading. Afraid to look up, feeling like a million pairs of eyes would be staring at me. I recognized a kid who used to go to my school. Only because of his neon, lime green Converse, I saw. Then I looked up to see his long brunette hair that I remembered. Finally the bell (buzzer really) rang and I was saved.

The name of the next class was unknown to me and I never found out. I felt more comfortable in this room. As I read more of my book. I held a uni-ball pen in my hand for no reason really, just something to hold onto to boost my comfort zone (like wearing jackets ALL the time). A girl Rose was friends with talked to me. Mainly about books. She said had read “Burned” and told me it was amazing. I then noticed she was carrying “Thirteen Reasons Why” around and we both agreed it was pretty good. 

Band was next. Rose didn’t really stop back at her locker so we kept on walking  (rushing) down to the band room. In that room I recognized another boy from my school, his name is Austen. He is quite mischievous, he looked the same in the face, maybe a little more mature. Medium brown skin with a vague red tint. Whatever. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to read during band. Though the class did not play their instruments, instead they filled a work packet while the teacher handed me one to look over.

LUNCH. Whooo!! Eating lunch was easy. Talked with a couple more of Rose’s friends. One who I thought was awful, the other liked the same kind of music as me. In fact we both said we loved Brendon Urie from Panic At The Disco, and I told her I saw them in June of last year. She was in shock that they even came here and then it turned to fake sadness. I ate most of my lunch, while still being asked, “Are you new here?” (which got rather annoying). Yet, I still felt like the odd one out. After lunch we shimmied back up the steps to Latin.

Journal entry #2

Latin. It’s interesting so far. Though I am yet to hear someone speak the language. I was handed a quiz paper and a book, even though the teacher was told I was shadowing. He told the class all of the questions to the test can be answered on page 175 in the book. I thought, What the heck, might as well fill it out. Not knowing the timer would go off I took my sweet time writing down the answers. I think I wrote down at least six, complete sentence, answers when the timer went off. With that I think I’ll just recycle the paper, besides I won’t be back here until next school year. The teacher started asking the questions from the test, which lead in to other discussion. The teacher seems nice, humorous, or at least trying. Though I haven’t seen him mad so I can’t label too soon.

Geography made me freak out. I didn’t like it, but I don’t really like school at all so…. I was in the front row, yet I still had trouble reading what was on the board.  They were taking a pop quiz and when I didn’t answer the question I felt (and heard) kids getting mad at me. I felt like the teacher was staring me down, maybe I was just paranoid. My next journal entry.

Journal entry #3

Okay so I know I want to come here next year. It is definitely challenging. The only things I’m afraid of are the early mornings (gotta be up by six and there by seven), the students, a couple teachers, and the hallways in between classes. Hopefully I’ll have a few friends to face it with me. Right now I’m going to try and relax before the time comes at the end of August. (And during the last week of summer break that I’ll have to “prep” for those wonderful (note sarcasm) early mornings.)

English was okay. I wish they had a better teacher, but I didn’t see the students “in action” either. My last journal entry.

Journal entry #4

So this is Rose’s last class, English. She told me about her “bipolar” teacher, I guess could agree. Things are pretty simple at the moment. The class is tame (which is again, mainly populated by girls). They are correcting and finishing their papers, while I read some more. I’ve gotten some great reading in today. Though not much writing time because I’m afraid kids will read my notes. Back to the book – My mom picked up a copy of “Burned” by Ellen Hopkins for me yesterday night and I’ve already devoured 350 pages. YAAYYYY!!

Once the bell rang I grabbed my things out of Rose’s locker and waited for her to show me back down to the office. I walked into the office to find my mother waiting for me.


Identical

January 28, 2009

I started reading a book called “Identical” by Ellen Hopkins yesterday. If you have read any of Hopkins’ writing you’ll know she writes in verse, like poetry. There is a scene in the book where Kaeleigh escapes from her problems by cutting her leg. I wrote this poem from her perspective yet trying to make it different from Hopkins’.

She remains unsure    n2643301

Hands shaking, eyes closed,

Picking up the razor

Been shaving these legs for years

I’m careful, right? 

Blood

Flows from her long gash

Engraved into her leg

I thought cutters were sick?

More so, than my own self

I see how addicting this pain feels

Hot water

Washing away the blood

I need to clean up

Baggy sweat pants and T-shirt

I look like a hippie

What will daddy say?

“No daughter of mine

will leave my house dressed like

This”


Clocks

January 26, 2009

I was listening to Coldplay’s “Clocks” just a minute ago. Knowing just how amazing it is. One of my favorite songs in fact. The lyrics are beautiful. I decided that I needed something to calm my nerves. I’ve got my stomach churning with excitement just thinking about… Eli. I’ve got to admit. It is quite strange for someone three or four years older than me to like me (or vise versa), but its not like I’m going to go out with him. I honestly wouldn’t want to. It just freaks me out. Though when I’m twenty and he is oh say, twenty four, it would be a little different.

I was thinking today, I should have bought that Joker T-shirt and how I want The Maine’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop album. So maybe I’ll make a trip back to Hot Topic this weekend… or not. I should probably save my last $60 dollars for merchandise at The Killers concert. (Did I tell you I was going? Well I am, and I’m super excited!!) Though that isn’t until May so – wait! I want to see The Maine, right? Decisions, decisions.

Back to Coldplay’s song. “Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease? Singing, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are. And nothing else compares, oh nothing else compares…” You cannot deny that you like those lyrics. His voice almost hums those words. In fact the whole album (A Rush Of Blood To The Head) is brilliant. I am easily amazed by this band. Another favorite song of mine from this record is “In My Place”. I think it was one of their singles, but just because it is popular doesn’t mean it can’t compare to their other tracks, right? The drums catches me off guard at the beginning then the guitars slow into a more calming sound. Like you could close your eyes while floating in the water and let the waves take you where ever. Go pull up the song on YouTube, picture that right now, close your eyes, visualize, relax. Can you not feel that?

Coldplay. One of the greatest British alternative rock bands out there.


A Tale of Eli Cullen

January 26, 2009

Sundays are usually quite “depressing”. Knowing that you’ll have to go back to school the next day, not being able to stay up past midnight *sigh*.  Today went surprisingly well. I woke up early to go babysit at ten. They had a friend over so they payed me extra for the two hours I was at their house. I already had made fifty dollars in the past week so I was doing quite well on cash. I decided I’d make a trip down to Hot Topic once I arrived home. I hadn’t been there since before Christmas and I was excited to finally be able to purchase the Chiodos’ Bone Palace Ballet album.

I wore a a flowy, black, knee length, skirt with a pair of my tightest, purple tiger print, skinny jeans. My We The Kings shirt that reads, “I LOVE Red Heads” and my black with pink flamingos, slip on vans. (Not that it really matters what I was wearing, just thought I’d add that.)

I walk into Hot Topic with a rush of other kids. My stomach is doing flips. Why? You may ask. Do you remember my tales of the tall, thin, shiny black haired, clammy pale, cute guy in a pair of skinny jeans I told you about? I see him, staying calm (on the outside of course) I look up at the display of T-shirts. Walking towards the back of Hot Topic the guy with curly hair, David, recognizes me and says hello or, “Hey,” to be exact. I say hey right back to him with a friendly half smile.

Looking at the CD section I grab a copy of Chiodos’ Bone Palace Ballet. He comes closer. I’m squealing on the inside, relax Phoenixx, deep breaths. While I’m browsing records (nothing really strikes me) he comes over and asks, “Need help looking for a record?” It takes me a moment to reply, but I don’t stutter. “Um, no thanks.” as I flash him my Chiodos CD. I walk around the small cramped in space of Hot Topic, he walks near me.

Most of my time spent in Hot Topic is spent window shopping, having an undecided feeling on what I should or shouldn’t buy. Don’t you hate it when that happens?? I keep pacing through the store like always. He is still following me. Creepy? Maybe, could I say creepy in a good way? I notice he is wearing a green To Write Love On Her Arms T-shirt but of course skinny jeans, eyeliner? Yes. Whatever. It might be weird, but he is still very cute. My mother finds little Hello Kitty items for my younger sister’s upcoming birthday. She shows me Emily The Strange barrettes which are cute, though I’d rather not spend the eight dollars on. All of a sudden I feel a warmth rush to my face. Crap, I’m blushing. My ears and cheeks are a shade of scarlet, like I said, he might be Edward Cullen after all.

I spy a Joker shirt. It is gray and has his makeup smeared face on it and his hand in which he is holding a card that has Batman on it. Wandering over to a Watchmen jacket. I check the price, $ 48.00 dollars, ouch! Maybe another time. (While wandering I found out my favorite HT guy was named Eli.) I finally settle on the Chiodos Bone Palace Ballet: Grand Coda album and two strings of Zotz (watermelon and apple, yum!). David and a girl I do not recognize are up at the counter. David leaves and Eli comes to the counter. I go over to his side of the line, joyful. Then the girl asks, “Next person in line?” Aw, crap. I am very bummed as the lucky girl who was behind me gets rung up by Eli. I pay for my sister’s Hello Kitty junk, Emily The Strange barrettes (I decided I’d wear them), and my Chiodos album with a twenty dollar bill.


Looking Back…

January 25, 2009

I was thinking back to my first Vans Warped Tour experience last year, and how I was so unprepared! Get this, I saw Travis Clark and the rest of the guys from We The Kings at a signing, yet I was to much of a pansy to take a picture with Travis. Even after my mother nearly pushed my into him I backed right up blushing bright red in the stifling heat. I feel so much regret right now, I cannot even stand it. I’m angry with myself. I mean, it’s cool I got a picture with Maika from There For Tomorrow, but it is TRAVIS CLARK we are talking about here!!!!! And I missed Paramores’ performance, I should be ashamed. Cross that, I am ashamed! ARRGGG, this year I’ll come early, prepared with a digital camera, bottled water, a stashof money, and a sharpie for “just-in-case” signings. Let me go back to that experience…

It is about 4:00 pm and the air is so stiflingly hot. Jitters reach my body as I walk to the gate to get my ticket scanned in. I have to pitch my sunscreen, but what the hell. I came here to see Paramore. Paramore were only on seven of the dates and lucky me, I was included in one of them. I have to see Paramore, I need to! I walk in and there are merch tables just about everywhere. My jaw drops just looking at all the awesome T-shirts. -Just thinking about it sends thrills into my brain, like I could leap around the room.- (One of my first stops was to Paramore’s merchandise table. )We find the schedule and I grab one of the scattered pieces of paper just staring at the times. Paramore played at 3:00, I am sad, pissed, though I feel the need to move on at the moment. (This is what I missed ) I mark down Cobra Starship, Katy Perry, and a few other which I cannot remember.

As I walk past boat loads of sweaty teenagers, viewing make-outs, skating ramps, more merchandise tables, and then… a We The Kings signing. I wait patiently in line like all the other girls only a bit quieter. Oh my god. It’s Travis freaking Clark. He stands tall with his big, brilliant, red orange, hair and that lip ring of his I adore so much. He is definitely cuter in person. Travis is wearing a royal blue shirt that reads “Save a Boob” I smile at it and listen to him talk to the other girls in line and with Danny, Hunter, and Drew. I can’t wait to reach the front of the line. Wait a second, there are two dudes in front of me who won’t move. What are they doing?? Then a guy comes out and says, “Sorry but we gotta wrap it up.” The guys walk over for pictures and I need one with my favorite red head!! Travis stands in front of me, does he even notice me?? I just look up at him with glazed eyes, blushing red, and to timid to even ask for a picture. My mother shoves me forward almost knocking me into him. I scoot right back as if he’ll hurt me. -I was so pathetic!! Why was a such an idiot?!?!?!- My mom whispers to me, “Go ask for a picture.” Just as I’m about to ask the guy comes out again and says, “Sorry, but I’ll have to take him from ya.” I am sooo bummed. I feel like a loser, a wuss. I missed Paramore and a chance to get a friggin’ picture with Travis Clark, how could I screw this up?!?!?!? I sigh and move on.

Finally we find our friend Elizabeth. We met her during the Horrorpops performance which was really great. The lead singer was awesome, she seemed really down to earth with her big ol’ base, which she kept plucking at. Of course I didn’t know who they were at the time, but I knew I liked ’em. With that we talked, walked, bought some merch, walked past sets with screaming lead singers. (We actually came across a booth for The Greely Estates, the merchandise guy had a little cardboard box that read, “Five dollars if you can fit it.” Elizabeth picked through the box and held out a tiny shirt meant to fit a child. Elizabeth said, “Oh this will be for Mae-Mae.” I giggled. The shirt was rather scary for a little girl if you ask me, but anywhoo….)

It was about six when Cobra Straship’s set started. Elizabeth helped me get closer “seats” as kids would sing along to lyrics I didn’t quite know. I enjoyed myself for the first time instead of being so stiff. I went along with what Gabe Saporta was saying, putting my hands up even if I did look like a fool doing so. During one of their songs I heard Mayday Parade. Their set was right next to Cobra Starship’s. I would walk back and fourth until they both ended and I settled with Cobra Starship in the end. After their show I was off to their merchandise table. I bought a purple T-shirt with the hand sign for a cobra, on the back it says “Fangs Up!” and “Cobra Starship”. -Jeez how many times can I say Cobra Starship in a paragraph?!- 

Just to kill time I thought I’d go see Angles and Airwaves. I don’t know them well enough, but they are alright. I was waiting for the Gym Class Heroes set to end (which I secretly enjoyed). I guy bumped my shoulder, I turned and looked at him as he quickly spoke the word, “Sorry,” he didn’t look very old, maybe 14. He looked at me, he was kind of cute, though I’ve definitely seen cuter. 

A heavy rain storm comes in. I wanted to stay, but my mother said she saw lightening a couple times so we were off. Like most other kids I we were running back to our car in the big dirt lot, rain hitting me smack in the face, and it actually hurt too! Kids were cursing “Aw, f***” or “S***” whatever, I was cursing on the inside. When we were about to exit through the little tent, all of the sudden it went flying up in the air. A few guys struggled to hold it down as my mother and I ran, soaked in my “Gerard shoes” to our car. By the time my mother and I plopped into our little black car we were soaking wet. It was uncomfortable. I pulled my shoes off and pulled on one of my new clean shirts. My mom asked for one to wear so I handed her my Japanese Vans tee. There was a bit of a traffic jam unfortunately, but we made it through. I walked into my house with wet, untied shoes. The first thing I did was set all my merch on the table having all of my siblings ogling it.

I guess I had I pretty great time. If I’m lucky Paramore will come back to ____ this year, but I do feel bad that I went through the whole Warped Tour experience without their performance. And maybe Travis Clark will come to my house and give me a hug, then pigs will fly. Definitely.


Obama’s Inauguration

January 22, 2009

At 11:00 a.m. yesterday, January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became our president. I had been waiting for this. On Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day (which I found quite neat that the two were paired together). Celebrating history two days in a row. Actually making history one of the two days, and I witnessed it. Now it won’t be easy, but Obama most definitely knows what he is talking about. Change.

About ten o’ clock I was herded off to the auditorium to view the inauguration with other classmates. I enjoyed it, his speech for the most part. It was absolutely amazing, beautiful, definitely what I needed to hear. I wanted someone who could help, no direct, “the change” to tell me things will be, by far, much better with a new president. It takes a time for change, but shouldn’t take much for change to happen. There is a glitch and it needs to be fixed, once that is taken care of, things will slowly dance back into place. I’ve heard this saying a million times and I’m sure you have too, It has to get worse before it can get better.

Here is my favorte part of Obama’s speech, credits go to The Associated Press at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090120/ap_on_go_pr_wh/inauguration_obama_text  “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.”

The United States have just made history. Our first African American president, who is talented, intelligent, a proud leader, and knows how to get down to business. Whenever I hear Obama speak, he has something useful to say, something meaningful, powerful, wise, which leads me to believe he is truly an intelligent man. Just about everyone is praising him, even people from other countries. I have a pen-pal who lives in Malaysia who was rooting for Obama and even said our country was in desperate need of change.

I didn’t give it much thought, but maybe one day in the future if I have adopted children I can tell them I witnessed that event. As they will be researching it on the Internet and textbooks, I can share with them my knowledge of the event.