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Front Street Teens

Author Crush: Ellen Hopkins!

This month I decided to reread one of my tried and true favorites – multiple award winning author, #1 New York Times Bestseller, and poet – Ellen Hopkins. She’s kind of a big deal. If you haven’t picked up one of her books yet, any of them are worth a read; they’re gritty, realistic, and deal with issues that will make you think about your own life choices. Through her novels, Ellen Hopkins delves into relevant issues that some teens (and even adults) face and shows through her characters that your life is your own and you can make your own choices to become better despite struggle.

Ellen Hopkins’ first book, Crank, which is followed by Glass and Fallout, centers around a “good girl’s” addiction to crystal meth. Loosely based upon her own daughter’s story, Crank is a gritty and honest exploration of addiction and rehab. It’s written in the format of free-verse poems following Kristina’s addiction and the sequels further the story through both Kristina and her three oldest children’s perspectives.

In Burned, Pattyn loves her father. She’s the oldest of 8 siblings and her very strict Mormon father abuses her, as well as her mother and sister. She’s grown up to be quiet, to serve the household, because that is a woman’s place, but she hates it. When she meets Derek, she sees what “normal” teen life is like, but then things take a turn for the worse. Smoke picks up where Burned left off, with Pattyn trying to pick up the pieces of what’s left of her life.

After attempting suicide, Vanessa, Conner, and Tony meet in a psychiatric inpatient hospital in Impulse. The three of them don’t always want to feel better, because how can they when their lives are so terrible outside the hospital? Each of them finds a close bond in one another as they start to find ways to move on and cope with their lives. Perfect is the companion to Impulse and takes place after the psychiatric hospital from Conner’s sister, Cara’s, perspective.

In addition to these titles, she’s written other books about controversial and sometimes disturbing topics, such as religion and sexual abuse, but always with a very personal and deft touch. Her books are certainly not for the faint of heart, but Ellen Hopkins sheds light on realistic and often dangerous issues. You can find her on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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