tHe crooKed WorD

As of April 30, 2014 we will no longer be posting reviews on tHe crooKed WorD. Reading is like breathing for us - and discovering new books and authors has been a wonderful adventure - but the time has come for us to move on. Thank you for your support, for allowing us into your lives, and for letting us influence in some small way the contents of your bookshelves.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Guest Post By Author Natasha Larry

A Tribute to Ellen Hopkins 

      I firmly believe that if you don’t read at least twice as much as you write, you will never be much of a writer. My father instilled a love of reading in me at a very young age. I still remember the feeling of devouring Judy Blume and feeling like a book was my best friend. Now that I’ve reached adulthood, I spend most of my time reading any comic book or graphic novel I can get my hands on. I think I read comic books because, for me, the young adult genre has lost that best friend feel. Don’t get me wrong, The Hunger Games is a work of brilliance in my mind, but every once in a while I need old school YA, and it was actually one of my own readers that turned me onto Ellen Hopkins.

      A young lady I’ll call Awesome X suggested I read Burned so I went and picked it up. When I saw it was a collection of poetry I wasn’t aching to read it. My favorite poets are Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath- and I can only handle reading them every once in a while. When I opened the fat, little book I was hooked on Hopkins. After she hooked me, she drug me back to my adolescent years on a violent and terrifying wave of brilliantly woven poetry that will always stay with me.

      After I finished Burned I moved on to Crank, having needed a break after the last lines of the former echoed around inside my skull like a constant, death rattle. I can still see images of Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten’s Mormon father pounding his fists into her back over a sanitary napkin, roaring the words: “You will remember who I am.”

      When she reached for the gun I almost suffocated.

      It is horrifying.

      What’s worse is that it’s real.

      Now I’m halfway through Crank and I feel my adolescent self being forced back into the trenches once again. I know, you’re thinking- some best friend! Violence, drugs and the un-happily ever after… yes, well it’s no Twilight… because Ellen Hopkins writes for young adults.

      Everything in her poetry embodies the true spirit in which young adult books should be styled after. I don’t mean in subject matter but in theme. Burned questions as teens do. It rebels, as teens do, it’s suicidal and horny as teens are, but most of all, it’s discovering who you are for yourself. It is character driven and the most stunning body of poetry I’ve ever read.

As a young adult novelist, I think anyone aspiring to write anything for young adults needs to read Hopkins. She is as vital as Judy Blume in this genre, and she reminded me why I truly love writing this genre.
Twitter: @natashalarry


  1. very call i will have to check the books out when i can next. :) i always love book suggestions!

  2. I know what I'm sending to your kindle. ;)

  3. I loved Ellen Hopkins books. I have read almost all of them...currently working on triangles which is a way different world than most of her others

  4. Nice, we can compare notes. I'm starting Glass and the next one on my list is Perfect.