Nov 13, 2017

Review | The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

Title: The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary/Poetry
Publication:   January 24, 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★★★

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: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

Thoughts: I've been an Ellen Hopkins fan for years and I was really excited to receive an early copy of her newest book The You I've Never Known which I didn't even know was releasing. While this, like most of her books, deals with tougher topics, it was not my favorite.

I didn't know what to expect from this, and really had no idea what it was about because I did not read the synopsis, so I found it to start off a little slow and not really go anywhere for a long while. I kept putting it down, and even though her books are so easy to read because they were written in prose, it took me a lot longer than expected to really want to know more about the story.

We are introduced to Ariel who lives as a nomad pretty much with her dad, was abandoned by her mom as a baby, and is struggling to figure out her sexuality all while trying to keep her father at bay about her romantic relationships. We also get a second story of another teen named Maya who finds herself pregnant and leaving her extremely religious mother to live with her boyfriend. While the stories aren't connected at all, you can sort of see where its going early on.

So while there is a twist, it is quite predictable. I found Ariel to be a relatable character but I didn't really like her. Maybe because she was so confused and fooling around with two people, but I really was whatever about her. I felt sympathy for Maya, who was struggling in the situation she was in, but ultimately found this book to be pretty meh. I gave it three start because it was still an interesting plot while somewhat predictable. It takes too long for the story to get going, but once it does, it was fascinating to see what the characters were going through. I recommend this one to EH fans, but don't think this is her best work if you've never read her before.

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