Author: Ellen Hopkins
2014 – YA – Realistic Fiction
The Story: Matt and Hayden seem like the perfect couple. But he is angry and bitter about his brother’s suicide due to bullying. And she is jealous and being steadily influenced by the opinions of her youth minister. Her so-called faith and his disbelief in a God that could be so cruel continually clash, leading both to wonder if love is enough.
The Opening Line: In the narrow pewter space between the gray of consciousness and the obsidian where dreams ebb and flow, there is a wishbone window.
What I Loved: I’m somewhat irresistibly drawn to anything Ellen Hopkins writes. I go in knowing they’re going to be dramatic and tense and emotional and crazy, but I read them anyway, and always end up learning a lot. She can pack quite a punch in just one novel. In Rumble, she packs in faith and forgiveness and anger and suicide and homosexuality and bullying and PTSD and bitterness and love and infidelity and more. My head reels just thinking about it.
What I Didn’t Love: Pretty sure I disliked most of the characters for most of the book. Loved Luke. Loved Alexa and Jesse and Quin. All minor characters. The major characters – Matt, Hayden, both sets of parents – were annoying and dramatic and extreme. I warmed up to Matt a little bit over time. Everyone else, nope. Sure, the characters were real and flawed and all that jazz, but did they have to be so unlikable?
Final Thoughts: I love that Ellen Hopkins continues to write novels that address very real issues that teens face. She doesn’t skirt issues that other authors might, even if they are hard and uncomfortable to read about. Plus, the novels are easily readable (in the most literal sense) because they’re all in verse. So it’s easy to read a couple of pages, put the book down, and come back to it later, which is what I ended up doing a lot.