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.


“Here we go again”

January 14, 2009

“And here we go again, with all the things we said and not a minute spent. To think that we’d regret so we just take it back. These words and hold our breath, forget the things we swore we meant.” – Paramore “Here We Go Again”

Today the music teacher is absent. So Mr.”B” is substituting, which means the whole class will take advantage of him. Mr.”B” is a poetry writing, nice, intelligent, old man and doesn’t seem to have the nerve to get the class in his control. So while pens and pencils fly across the room, the radio is turned on, and students bang on instruments.

It started with a Sharpie. I grabbed an orange, Sharpie high-lighter. I drew on my shoe a bit and my friend Robby snatches it from my hand. I tug at the high-lighter, trying loosen his grip; no use. I just sit there as Mr.”B” tries to put cartoons on (Bugs Bunny to be exact.) I see Robby I wait a couple minutes go up to him and snatch the marker right back. My “friend” Sarah sees the marker and says, “I saw it first, Brennen took it away from my so give it here.” I don’t think she noticed I clenched my jaw in frustration. I am so sick of Sarah. One minute I think we are good friends, the next she is calling me a loser, or knifing me in the back by going along with people who are messing with me. So now Sarah grabs the marker and I plead, “Just let me use it for a second.” She smiles at me and says, “X’s.” “What?” I reply. I pondered what she was trying to get at, did she mean like when I go to concerts? Since I’m under 21 if I go to a certain concert venue they mark my hands with X’s, making sure I can’t try to purchase a drink. She murmurs, “Never mind, you aren’t smart enough to understand.” That set me off, yet again I didn’t show the emotion of anger. I’ve learned her tricks. If I tell her off she get mad and tells the whole school about the fight, then she’ll turn everyone against me, lie some more, and then say sorry. I hated this. It took me a minute to understand what I was getting myself into, though I went on. “Sarah, why do you talk like that? Why are you always calling me stupid or a loser?” Robby looked up at us and spoke jokingly, “C’mon guys! Why do we have to fight right now?” I gave him a look and sighed, “Robby.” “Yeah, why are you bringing this up right now so everyone can hear?” Sarah pushes. Isn’t it freaking obvious?! I responded, “Because you just did it a minute ago so I said it now.” “Yeah, but still.” said Sarah. I felt like slapping a hand to my forehead, what kind of answer was “Yeah, but still.”???!!! Sarah said something like, “Well, I was only joking and sorry if you didn’t get it.” I didn’t notice the sorry in there until a few minutes later when she said, “Fine. Then don’t accept my apology.” in that famous attitude of hers. I bulged my eyes and turned around. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.” and turned to face the TV once more. This seemed like a little thing to get mad over in my book, but she just kept going. “Oh, so you still don’t accept my apology.” I whipped around and said, “FINE. I’M SORRY!” I turned back around and heard her whisper, “B****” Are you kidding me I thought?! I was going crazy and acted upon my first impulse with hatred burning in my eyes. “I heard what you just said.” “You don’t know what I said-” I cut her off. “I know what you said you called me a b****.” “No I didn’t, who are you to tell me what I said?” My heart was pounding now. I was ready to scream right in her face. She’d never seen me like this because I had never let it escape, but it was so on right now. Call me a b****, you’ve crossed the line. “You always get mad at little things like this. And you did to call me a b**** I heard you so stop lying.” I turned around once more huffing like mad, attempting to slow my heart rate. I swear my heart was beating so fast, so hard.

Sarah scooted back in her chair far away from me. I pretended to keep my attention to the TV while I was writing out the whole story in my head. Every so often I would glance around the room. Once I saw Sarah talking to Veronica and Giselle, most likely about me. I didn’t give a damn, I don’t need crappy friends anyway. My fingers were crossed as I hoped they wouldn’t come over and do Sarah’s dirty work. What did I expect? Veronica sat by me for a while, I thought she could be decent enough not to say a word about the argument. Nope. Wrong. She said she hoped Sarah and I would make up. I didn’t reply to that at all.  I was absolutely sure I wouldn’t make up with her, I wanted this to last so she wouldn’t keep coming back, repeating the same patterns. By the time I had looked up again, Sarah was in a corner feeling all sorry for herself. Another one of her tricks. Kids will come over to her and ask, “What’s wrong?’ and she’ll tell them the whole story after she was told me not to say a word about “our business”.

On the way out of music class Veronica tells me, “Sarah wasn’t calling you a b****, she said she was calling herself one.” I was thinking, riiiight (note sarcasm). Instead of saying that I just narrowed my eyes. Once we got back to our classroom Ms.____ was reading. About half way through the end of her reading Sarah passed me a note. It was telling me “how sorry she was and that she was calling herself the b****.” It also told me to circle yes, no, or maybe, if I accepted he apology. I couldn’t believe this. I wanted to circle maybe or no, but instead I said yes. What kind of idiot am I???  So she hands me the notebook on the sly again with another note scribbled on it. Sarah wrote something like, “You are such a good friend if you accepted my apology.” All I was thinking was, Or maybe I’m just a really good liar.


“Dance To This Beat”

January 14, 2009

 Earlier I had told my mother she could watch American Idol in my room since my father had just hooked up another Xbox 360 into the living room. I did not mention a word about anyone else barging into my room. I’m logging off of the computer. I decided what the heck, maybe I’ll go watch American Idol up with my mom. I walk into my room the light is on for no reason, it is effing hot, ALL of my siblings are in there, and there is junk lying all over my bed and floor like it’s some kind of party. Wake up call, get the hell out of my room!!! I say, “Why is it so hot in here? Why is all this stuff lying around in MY room?!” My sister Kate replies, “That’s Eleanor’s stuff.” I groan. “Get it out!” and storm out of my room.

First off I keep my room chilled because I change temperatures rapidly and in the summer it gets stiflingly hot because my walls are painted bright red. Second I keep my room clean and pristine. Third I do not want the light on unless I would like to read. Wouldn’t you think the light from my TV would be enough?! Grrrrrrrrrr!!! Why can’t anyone just deal with my room and not screw with it?

Anywhoo, I go out and ask my mom, “Why did you turn the space heater on?” she replies, “I was cold.” My eyes light up, “Then use a BLANKET.” I go on, “And why is all that stuff in my room. Why are… They in my room?” My dad yells from the living room, “Phoenixx, stop complaining.” “NO.” I shout back. I am angry, and if you had another thought in mind you are sorely mistaken. I am a picky perfectionist and you never know what to expect with me. So here is a tip, ask before you cross me. This must mean nothing to you reader, but I extremely frustrated right now. Four more words, “Dance to this beat.” (Panic! At The Disco lyrics.) End of story.


“…You’ve Got That Seed In You”

January 13, 2009

For some reason I get this satisfaction in hurting people’s feelings. It makes me want to laugh at their hurt, sad, sorry faces. Or it might send a shiver through my body that makes my heart beat faster, harder. Then I feel the hurt. The raw aching, in my chest that is called sadness. A form of empathy? Maybe. I look that person dead in the eye and can feel that they want to cry, they tried to do something nice. It pains me to feel that. Yet at the same time I’m loving that feeling, not wanting to say or do anything about it. Will my good half win me over? Or will “The Good Side” perish in defeat. I can’t explain myself. I feel angry a lot, maybe it’s because of my age like some people say, though I think it is just in me. It is part of my nature.

This usually ends in one of these two ways. One I won’t say a word to the person and we will both get over it and maybe it just might happen again. Or two, I will apologize in some way and give that person a big bear hug. Then we’ll look at each other and both know it’s okay.

I bet some of you readers are thinking, What the heck is this girl’s deal? Or why do we give care? I know you don’t, but I’m writing for my own joy here. Not because I have to. I’m starting to trail off into blabbing, I’ll end that here. Anyway, there seems to be a pattern of me messing with delicate people.


This War Is Ours

December 23, 2008

12/23/08

“This War Is Ours” is Escape The Fate’s new album and also happens to be the title for my new post that fits quite well.

Last Friday my house guests were gone. Staying with friends or a grandmother, I think. They hadn’t arrived nor called since yesterday night. Monday night. I heard someone at the door and the terribly strong smell of cigarettes. I glided to a window to see if it was really them, how could it not be? I ran back to my room hoping Layla wouldn’t see me. Layla brought back a box covered in blankets. One of their kittens. After thirty minutes I was already back to wanting to take a daily dose of cyanide or a lethal injection.

Today I was downstairs practicing guitar, scales to be exact and Layla comes into the room. I say something random, “I got to see my homie at Hot Topic last Sunday.” She replies, “I walked past there, but didn’t go in. Though I did go to Spencer’s.” I go on, “The Spencer’s at the mall is sectioned. There is a big wall with the “stuff” on one side at all the T-shirts and junk on the other half.” Layla responds, “I saw this maternity shirt there that says, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not yours.'” UGH. Is all I could think. So I tell her, “Once I saw this nasty shirt there that said ‘I’m not fat I’m just knocked up.'” “How is that nasty?” Layla asks. “Who would want to wear a shirt that says you’re knocked up on it?” I ask with a hint of attitude in my voice. “It’s not nasty, that’s what you are when you are pregnant.” I didn’t say anything. If I had the guts I’d tell her off. Scream in her face and maybe throw a punch or two, but that’s just my imagination, right? I ignore her and she walks out of the room. God, I’m going over the edge I swear. There are worse things my mother has pointed out. Like being a visitor at someone Else’s house.

We are babysitting a guinea pig over winter break. Our visitors Abby, Layla, and Lacey have had loads of stray pets, of course guinea pigs as well. The day our friends dropped the guinea pig off I walked over to the girl who owns it and said, “Hey, you want me to make sure they don’t touch it?” A sinister grin spread across my face. “Yeah.” she replied back. Yet Layla keeps making kissy faces at it and it drives me nuts! I stare at her from behind as a short film goes on inside my head. “Sorry, you can’t touch the guinea pig. Her owner told me so.” I say with a smug grin. “I’m sorry, but you’re just rude.” Layla says to me. I smile, give way one laugh and reply, “I never said I wasn’t.” I get up close to her and give her a good shove, then turn and walk away. She grabs me by the arm as I scream for my father, I bite her wrist so hard I tear through skin like a vampire (RAWR). Layla lets go and cries. Except that didn’t happen.

When I’m extremely mad my hands shake, I clench my jaw, and produce a look in my eyes that burns with hatred. My dad can barely accept that I don’t like these people or even know them. HA! The next time someone asks me, “What are you doing?” I’ll probably say something like, “Waiting to rot.” and go back to whatever I was doing before.

Let the war begin.


Hello Alone (Home Is a Far Away Place)

December 5, 2008

“Hello Alone” is a song written and performed by Anberlin. Yes, that is all I wish for right now, to be ALONE, yet not lonely. I feel stressed, upset, angry, and annoyed. Why? You ask. Well, my family of six has taken in another family, of three girls ages 13 and 8 and I’m not quite sure how old their mother is. Let’s call them Abby, Layla, and Lacey.

My father works with their mother Abby. It is selfish of me to want them out of my personal space, but I’m not the kind of person who shares easily, especially when it comes to sharing my home. I’ve been keeping myself locked up in a little office down in our basement. No one is to dare to bother me. Taming my addiction to the internet by answering emails, blogging, reading, and listening to music. Sharing a room with a thirteen year old sure is a hassle. I love the quiet except for when it comes to music. To not feel the need to speak to others when I don’t feel the need to. All the thirteen year old, Layla does is talk.  About, boys, how gay people are “butt pirates”, and sex. All of which freaks me out, nauseates me. It annoys me that she is so homophobic *mutters under breath*. I answer her with mostly “uh-huh”s, “hmm”s, “yeah”s. One thing is for sure, she is friggen’ boy crazy. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I honestly don’t care to. Besides kids at this age are effing morons, UGH! Layla keeps me up late at night when all I want to do is escape to the comfort of my own room.

Oh man, and her younger sister Lacey *sigh*. Whenever Layla comes near her she squeals and whines. Layla of course tells her to shut up and then hits her for no reason! I get mad at my siblings, but I don’t torture them all the time. Their mother is disgusting. She farts and makes disturbing jokes, she also likes one of our neighbors, we’ll call him Stan. Stan works with my dad too, my father was kind enough to help him find a place to stay. “Conveniently” a couple houses down from ours (har har). My parents gave my siblings and I the choice to help our visitors out, and my mom didn’t seem to keen on the idea, yet my dad seemed excited. I reluctantly said yes not knowing how big of a mistake I had made. I should have known. Though as I’ve told you I really dislike school, well I’m more fond of it now. It seems to be my escape. I don’t care if kids mess with me or if a teacher is mean, those people do not live with me. My fear is coming back home to a house full of people.

Last night I asked if my mother could run me to Barnes and Nobel because I had babysitting money leftover. I took my youngest sister Eleanor, our “babysitter”, and my aunt Sherry. I was looking for “Watchmen”, which I sadly couldn’t find. Spending most of my time in the young adult books I found “Glass” by Ellen Hopkins and “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini. Eleanor saw her friend Lily with her mothers at Barnes and Noble which was nice because they are some of the nicest people. Once I had decided on which books I was purchasing I went down to the second floor and looked for a new issue of an Alternative Press magazine which I couldn’t find. Instead I grabbed a Teen magazine because Robert Pattinson was the main picture on the front cover, SQUEE!! Getting coffee and reading books is a good combination. I shared a mocha frappuccino with my mother and six year old sister Eleanor along with a peanut butter cookie, YUM! Barnes and Noble is my other escape place. Books, music, coffee, magazines the whole deal. I’d love to sit there for hours just browsing the store *sigh*, if only it were that simple. I feel guilty for having these feeling towards the family and venting to those who honestly do not give a care, yet I’ve been told my feelings are still valid. I sulk while my mother is driving us back home. My aunt Sherry and I tell Eleanor that if anyone asks you say, “Um… we went to Target and somewhere else I forgot.” If Eleanor wanted to tell anyone she could call our aunt Sherry.

I stuck the Teen magazine in the back of my shirt, the book “Glass” under my armpit the  inside of my shirt and “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” hidden inside my mom’s purse. I zipped to my room and unloaded my shirt as my mother snuck in handing me the book. I set the book on my book shelf so they didn’t look new. Eleanor crawled back to my room “Um, Phoen-” “Okay I’ll be there in a minute.” I said. She strode into the bathroom waiting. Aunt Sherry talked to her for about three minutes and until Eleanor ended the conversation.

Yesterday I had a half day at school, getting home at about 12:30 or so. The first thing I do is change from my school uniform. I listen to a song or two on one of my Taking Back Sunday albums and my mom left to go back to work and I took off down the steps. I’m in the nice cold basement opening the office door, I am already at the computer. Checking and replying to emails as usual. I had swiped one of my new books to read (“It’s Kind Of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini to exact). I spent two hours on the computer and one whole hour reading. Yes it was delightful until my younger brother and sister barged into the room (which I thought I locked) with toy guns. “GET OUT!!” I screamed impatiently, clenching my jaw. I came upstairs at about three thirty, skipping off to my room to read some more. Paranoid, I kept hearing car doors slam, is it them? Until finally my “babysitter” told me they had arrived. I let out a dramatic sigh. Layla dragged her things back into MY room. “Hello,” said Layla, “Mm, hi.” I grunted. She was talking to me about school as I just nodded then she took a nap. I straightened up my room and left hearing the kids messing with Polly Pocket, our English bulldog mix. She had nipped at Eleanor because Lacey and my brother Hal wouldn’t leave her alone. I’m not quite sure why I was so mad, though smoke was fuming from the head. I wanted to punch something, someone, to scream in their face and throw a fit. Instead I locked myself back in the basement office. I stayed there until it was dinner time, stomping up the stairs to smell a disgusting mess of food which Abby had prepared. Two words. Ugh, spaghetti. I shuffled over to my father asking, “Do I have to eat?” I was expecting a “Yes, you do.” Instead to my surprise he replied, “No, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” An easy battle, eh?

I’ll soon have more stories for you all, just wait *wink*.