eARC Review: The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

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The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
Published By: Margaret McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 24th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQ+, Contemporary, Poetry, Realistic Fiction
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 608
Rating: 4
Date Read: January 24th, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo Author’s Website

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

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?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

I received a copy of The You I’ve Never known from Lady Reader’s Bookstuff for review Consideration. This in no way influenced my opinion of this book. All quotes are from the ARC and subject to change. 

Home Four letters,
one silent.
A single syllable
pregnant with meaning.

The You I’ve Never Known is mostly told from Ariel’s perspective. She is a 17 year old girl who has lived pretty much her entire life moving from one place to another with her dad. Ariel’s mother abandoned her and her father to be with her girlfriend.

Along with having Ariel’s story, we also get a few journal entries from a girl named Maya. Maya is trying to navigate life and get away from her abusive mother.

After reading the first few chapters from Ariel’s perspective, the reader is introduced to the new point of view of Maya. I loved the dual perspectives as it showcased these two different Characters and their very different, yet uniquely troublesome lives. Ariel lives on the road with her father and she has never had the opportunity to live in the same place for very long until now. As a teenager, Maya becomes pregnant with the child of an older man. Eventually these two characters and their complicated stories become intertwined.

It hurt to breath. You always think you’ll have more time, you’ll get another chance to make things right with someone you should be closer to. Sometimes that doesn’t happen.

As the book went on, I really started to enjoy reading about all of the characters. I enjoyed slowly learning about Ariel’s past as well as her present struggle with self-discovery as I read through each chapter. It was so interesting to watch her figure this out. Her story was brilliantly portrayed. I liked reading about her two love interests, Monica and Gabe.

I found myself being completely sucked into the story. Maya MaCabe was also an interesting character. She grows so much from the naïve girl at the beginning of the book to the woman she is at the end.

I love when we are almost at the end of the book and all of the pieces fit together. It took me until half way through to realize how the two different stories were related. Once I realized that I became more invested.

We all erected force fields
to keep the haters from our truths.
When it’s just us we can lower
the barriers, allow our demons
a safe place to socialize.

I love Ellen Hopkins and her books, she has been at the top of my favourite authors list for a while now. Ellen Hopkins is known for writing in verse. I Love her writing,  I had never read anything written in prose before reading Tilt and because it was something so new to me, I absolutely loved it. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by her and I’m happy that I was given the opportunity to read her new novel The You I’ve Never Known.

My biggest issue with the novel wasn’t the book itself, but that the plot description reveals way too much. It took a bit to get into the book. There’s definitely a lot going on this novel, but it was nice that at least Ariel’s sexuality wasn’t always the main focus. It was also refreshing to find a bisexual teen heroine.

I want to be
that sure of the truth of me.
I feel like I’m teetering
on the edge
of semi-certainty,
which is pretty
much meaningless.

Hopkins has long been a favourite of mine and while I felt this one was lacking, her stories still manage to linger in my head long after finishing. She tackles the subjects that most often need to be brought to light.

Overall, I really enjoyed The You I’ve Never Known. Anything by Ellen Hopkins is bound to pack a punch with the types of subjects she tackles and The You I’ve Never Known is no different. This time she deals with abandonment, sexuality, and abuse, but it felt much more passive than some of her past stories. I’m always incredibly fond of her dual storylines and trying to determine the connection before the big reveal. All in all, another fantastic book from Hopkins that I highly recommend.

Home is someone
or two who accepts you
for the person you believe
you are, and if that happens
to change, embraces the person
you ultimately find yourself to be.

About the Author:

authorphoto-e1315801199400-2Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing.

Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She is a regular speaker at schools; book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

Contact Information: Goodreads | Website | Twitter |Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr


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One Response to eARC Review: The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

  1. Megan @ bookslayerReads says:

    Great review! I haven’t read any Ellen Hopkins books, unbelievably. But I’ve always wanted to. All her books are in verse form, aren’t they?


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