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27.1.15

A Favourite Author In Ellen Hopkins

When I was growing up books were my best friends. The stories and characters where like real life events and real people in my mind, they were the perfect escape and kept me delighted for hours as the words on the pages translated into vivid moving images in my head like a movie. I was the kid who's parents wouldn't let out, couldn't go hang out with friends, couldn't have friends over. It was school and then home and once home there wasn't much to do, even the internet had restrictions and time limits (to which now my parents regret considering I don't ever leave the house now and always on the internet or reading something.) I went through a book a week and lived in the library when I was permitted about an hour there after school whilst my mother took her time coming to pick me up. I graduated from fictional stories of witches and vampires to stories that were a little dark, stories I found myself relating to and being sucked into these characters that I felt connected to.

And then, I found her. Ellen Hopkins, my favourite author and the woman who introduced me to non traditionally written stories. Each book is written in verse, like mini poems on each page. Rather than the typical format of a descriptive wordy book these stories are written from the perspective of the character and the verse's give you a glimpse into their fragmented mind and show you the story rather than just telling you. Each verse has a "title" of sorts which is either a few words from the following passage or just the first few words altogether. They then transcend into a style that looks like a poem but is written the way anyone else would speak, nothing rhymes, no metaphors. It forces you to break at certain times and jump to the next line or to the bottom of the page. Her characters are all a little messed up and you see the world from their eyes from teenagers to young adults right through to mothers and wives. They have troubled minds and difficult pasts, some come from broken homes others from abusive scenarios and the way their stories are written makes you understand it like it's real. Sometimes the verses are fragmented on the page that really show you the struggle and other times a page is filled with words with no breaks or pauses. You can feel their stories and feel their pain and it's so real the way it's written eventually you begin to think the way they do.

I started reading her books when I was a teenager going through some stuff and found myself relating to some characters and just feeling hooked on the way these stories were. To be honest, I find it hard to read a "normal" book now because of how easy it is to follow and feel a character through verse. 
Although I've only read her books aimed at "young adults" I don't think they're strictly for younger ones. The themes in those books are dark and very real and things even a 22 year old like me still loves to read even though the characters are no more than 18-19 years old at a time. Her sequels are just as amazing, once you get attached to the characters getting the chance to see how they develop in a sequel is thrilling and exciting. Especially with "Crank" who's story is based on the life of Ellen's daughter and progresses right through to "Fallout" that tells you how that story progressed and you get to see another side. There isn't too much of a difference between her "adult" and "young adult" books either in terms of how they're written and the themes they follow, just a little more "mature" and written from the perspective of older characters. It's really just the verse style that makes these amazing. There are even movies like Palo Alto, Twelve and Submarine which all have that "indie" vibe to the point where I imagine their books being written in verse - the poetic nature of it all. These movies remind me of these books. 

I love her so much I'm considering buying a Kindle just so I can purchase all the books I don't have to put on there just to own and read over and over. An Ellen Hopkins Kindle. That would be lovely.

Favourites to mention

Impulse
Crank


All photo's by Sheree Grace

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