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Where The Wolves Read

A blog where I review mostly books. I also review, if my appetite allows, movies, music, and video games. Enjoy the feast!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

Goodreads

Triggers: Attempted rape, slurs, domestic abuse, gaslighting

Review: I'm not going to share the synopsis to this book, because it can spoil some of the story. That being said, the synopsis is on Goodreads, so you could always click the link above and read it there. This book hit weirdly close to home for me. I enjoyed getting to know Maya and Ariel. I found both characters to be refreshing and easy to love. I did find Ariel to be more fleshed out than Maya which was a bit of a shame. Understanding how the story played out, it makes sense that Maya would have shorter chapters and she isn't necessarily the focus of the story, but I still wish we got to experience more with her. Though, that could just be me. Maya was actually why I felt so connected to this book. Her story and relationship with Jason was eerily similar to that of one of my friends which freaked me out a bit (in a good way). Even with my personal connection to Maya, I wanted to stay in Ariel's story and see what happened to her. I wanted to experience the moments she shared with her friends. I really appreciated how she struggled with her sexuality, and how her family played a part in that. Some might find her hesitation towards a f/f relationship to be problematic, but I thought it was justified considering how she grew up with her dad. This might also be a personal thing since I was raised in the south and here, if you're anything but straight, you're on a fast train to Hell. It can be scary to see how people judge you when you come out so I completely understood her aversion. I enjoyed getting to know Gabe and Monica as well, but I felt like Hillary, Tati, and Syrah were less important and didn't get quite as fleshed out.

The whole story centers around gaslighting and how this toxic thing can shape humans. This is particularly harmful for children who would not understand what's happening. I found the story to be fascinating and engaging. Anyone sensitive to slurs (particularly LGBTQ+ slurs) might not enjoy this book because of Ariel's dad. Again, coming from the south, I grew up hearing awful things like this so it didn't bother me. If anything, it helped me relate to Ariel. Her dad is a horrific character. All I wanted was to tell Ariel to stay at Monica or Syrah's house and get away from her dad. I did find the ending of the story a wee bit predictable. That could also be because I read the synopsis before I read the book (this is also why I'm not sharing it on here). The way everything played out was still heart-wrenching in the way only Ellen Hopkins can do. Having Ariel's story written in poetry, and having Maya's written in prose, helped to distinguish between the girls. I found myself really enjoying how the book was set up. Overall, this was a solid Ellen Hopkins book. I'm sad it took me so long to get to it, but boy was it worth the wait.

4.5 howls