The You I’ve Never Known – A Scintillating Tale of Verse and Prose
I remember being in high school and picking up a lengthy novel. I flicked through the pages and found myself immersed in troubled teens’ lives. And yet, despite the subject matter every visit to the library resulted in another of Ellen Hopkins‘ books ending up in my collection. From Crank to Impulse, Hopkins shared a piece of her world with us. Within The You I’ve Never Known, Hopkins continues her familiar brand of verse writing while adding in a dash of prose, seemingly breaking up sentences to come across as poetic lines while fully thought out journal entries serve to complete the story.
Throughout the novel, readers will navigate between two stories — that of Ariel’s and Maya’s. Ariel lives alone with her father, though the pair have spent most of Ariel’s childhood on the road and relocating to different homes. Finding something steady now, Ariel enjoys being on her school’s basketball team and enjoys a conflict of the heart relationship with her friend, Monica. As for Maya, she is subject to her mother’s Scientology beliefs and comes across a sympathetic, rebellious teenager. After going out for an adventure with her best friend, Maya falls for a soldier stationed at a nearby base, and begins plotting her escape from her mother’s reign.
Throughout 600 pages, Ellen Hopkins weaves a story of confronting the unknown. Futures are never guaranteed to favor us, and neither are we guaranteed to wake up tomorrow. But a prevailing afterthought I had could be summed up — hope. Maya maintained a strong belief she would do better for her and her child than her mother did. Ariel had a shimmering ray of hope that maybe this time she wouldn’t have to move after making friends and connecting with several individuals. Such is that of Ellen Hopkins — every read, you have to believe that there is hope, that a good ending will come out of tragedy and misfortune.