The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins | REVIEW
The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 24th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository
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?
** Received an ARC from Simon Schuster Canada for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion at all. Thank you!! **
Oh, to be given the gifts
of the chameleon!
COVER 🌟🌟🌟 PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟
CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟 ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟
WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 FEELS 🌟🌟🌟
The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins is a contemporary YA written in prose about a girl living someone else’s life. What she doesn’t know is that her mother didn’t abandon her, but her father kidnapped her and that’s the reason they have been constantly moving around the country. (Sounds like a spoiler, but it’s not… it’s in the synopsis).
The You I’ve Never Known is not only the first Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read, but it is also the first book I have read in prose. I didn’t know what to really expect from it, but I was completely enamored by it. I thought it was a unique way to tell a story and I will definitely be on the look out for her other books/other books written in prose.
Hopkins knocks it out of the park with her very real and raw writing style. We not only read Ariel’s emotions, but we feel them on an authentic level; something I find hard to do when it comes to contemporary novels. We see Ariel for who she is deep down, and that’s a testament to Hopkins’ talents for the written word.
It is rare to find a young adult contemporary that explores bisexuality. The You I’ve Never Known does a spot on representation of it. Ariel struggles to find herself throughout the course of the book. She knows she is attracted to guys, but she also has growing feelings for her best friend Monica. Everything her homophobic father as drilled into her brain about her lesbian mother has left a huge block in her mind against it.
Hopkins doesn’t brush it off as “just wanting to have fun,” or “being greedy and not wanting to choose a gender” like the many people that have preconceived notions about bisexual people. She shows that it is possible to love more than one gender and that their is nothing wrong with that. Ariel goes on an emotional journey of self discovery and ultimately comes to terms with herself.
I loved that The You I’ve Never Known is told in dual perspectives. We get an insight on both Ariel and Maya’s lives and the trials and tribulations that they have to overcome. While Ariel’s perspective is written in prose, Maya’s is written in a letter style. This adds a layer of depth to the story overall that I quite enjoyed!
Hopkins takes you on a journey about love, abuse, and self discovery through these two girls. It was nice to see the two stories intersect with each other as the story unfolds. It ends quite ambiguously which I liked. Let’s me know that there is more to their story that doesn’t necessarily need to be told.
I felt The You I’ve Never Known was extremely slow moving. There were bits and pieces that I felt could have been left out of the story to move it along a little quicker. What interested me the most about the story was the aspect of being kidnapped and not even knowing it. Sadly, Ariel doesn’t find this out until page 406. That’s a long way to go to finally start picking up speed in my opinion.
No Plot Twist
So what drew me in is also what I didn’t like about The You I’ve Never Known. Had the synopsis not spilled the details about Ariel being kidnapped by her father and her mother’s never ending journey to find her, might have made for a major plot twist.
Put it this way, we got a dual perspective of two teenage girls whose stories will eventually intersect. It would have been perfect if we didn’t already know the major plot line of the story.
If this is your first Ellen Hopkins book, then I recommend you pick up her other highly acclaimed stories before this one, but if this isn’t your first Hopkins rodeo, then I think you will quite enjoy this step in her literary career! Let me know what you guys thought of The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins! I would love to hear your opinions as well!
Until next time,
Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.