Book Reviews

Review: The You I’ve Never Known By Ellen Hopkins

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Published: January 24th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books


Source: Local Library


Format: Hardcover


Page Count: 608


Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+


Synopsis: 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.

 

Spoiler Free Review:

I thought it was about time I read some Ellen Hopkins since my sister really enjoyed her books, The You I’ve Never Known sounded the most interesting to me since it included LGBTQ+ aspect to it. I actually took out a part of the synopsis, due to it spoiling a huge part of the novel. If you do plan on reading this book and don’t want to be spoiled, I would recommend skipping over the synopsis.


Nearly all of Hopkins’ books are written in verse and this one was no different. Parts of the book were written in prose or journal format, but it was mostly in verse. I always enjoyed stories in verse anyway and it flowed really well together. But I also found the story to be very slow which was disappointing since I expected it to go pretty fast, due to the format. As for the plot, I felt like it didn’t really start until more than half way through. A lot of the story felt like filler and unnecessary drama. I also thought that the ending was very unfulfilling, there was no closure to a huge aspect of the plot and it ended up just disappearing. 


As my sister had warned, I really didn’t like any of the characters. Ariel was your average teenager and I really couldn’t stand her homophobia and biphobia, but obviously it was how she had grown up and apart of her development. In general, Ariel was kind of irritating and a stupid teenager. Then again, I really shouldn’t have expected anything different. I really liked her friend Monica, but I did feel like she was heavily stereotyped, having being Mexican. However, I myself am not Mexican so that depends on what people who are actually Mexican think. It is true that some stereotypes are true. Besides Monica, I really enjoyed Maya’s character, though I wish there was more from her perspective.


Overall, The You I’ve Never Known was an enjoyable read, I had some issues with the plot but it was entertaining as a whole. 

Rating: 3/5

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