Book Review: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

17460553Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 560 (Hardcover)

good good

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens, happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionEllen Hopkins is honestly, one of my favourite authors and whenever she comes out with a new book I get so fucking excited. And believe me, I was extremely excited for Rumble despite the religion aspect of it because I knew that Hopkins would deliver it in a way that would make sense and not feel like something was being shoved down my throat. However, what I wasn’t expecting was the complete lack of intensity and emotion that all of her other novels held. For most of it I was bored out of my mind skimming the pages full of Matt’s relationship with Hayden.

Matt is so whiny. Compared to Four from Allegiant, he’s better but not by much. All that seems to take up his time is Hayden and how touch and go it is. If she doesn’t want to hang out with him he gets mad. If she doesn’t kiss him back as passionately as he wants her to, he gets mad. If she makes a new friend or goes to her church group, he gets mad. If she doesn’t text, he gets mad. Pretty much Matt gets mad at just about everything that Hayden does and then complains about it and then rushes to say, “I’m sorry. I love you. You’re amazing.” After the first few times I let it go. Around page 300 I had enough of this bullshit. I wanted there to be more mention on Luke and the relationship they had together. From what is mentioned about him is great, well described and heartfelt but it’s not enough to actually make me believe it as much as I wanted to. Another thing that I disliked is the way Matt’s thoughts start to change in the end. It happens at the very end and I was so mad about this. If the event happened sooner in the book, it would have been perfect, Matt would be able to experience something that isn’t anger and belief that there is no God. I wished it happened sooner.

Nonetheless, whenever Matt is not complaining about Hayden, there are a few good things going on. Like I mentioned before, the parts about Luke and his struggle as well as Matt’s struggles with it are fairly well done. I also liked the religion part of the book because it’s well down without feeling like I was being drowned in it. I also liked Matt as a character whenever he’s not fuming over Hayden. He’s well-developed otherwise, with strong traits and a troubling past. I enjoyed reading his story (and his story alone) because it’s quite relatable. Everyone experiences regret and I liked how Hopkins did this.

Rumble could have been so much better. Ellen Hopkins hasn’t been one to surround readers with too much romance before but with this one, you can smell it from a mile away. I hated this part of the book which is why I’m giving it a low rating. Despite this though, I still recommend this to people who like Ellen Hopkins and have enjoyed her previous books. Just beware of the romance and how much of the book it actually takes up.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

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Book Review: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

18038539This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined…

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon Pulse for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I’m not a religious person and I highly doubt I will ever become one. I think that this is one of the reasons why cults interest me so much, they explore different kinds of religions, mashing them up and manipulating people to believe complete nonsense and stealing their hope and faith, some of the last things they have to offer. The idea of cults in this story is a lot different from the ones seen in documentaries and that’s what first interested me. I was looking for something different and well explained however,  This Side of Salvation isn’t that novel, it lacks depth and a solid back story but I liked it enough. It also doesn’t hurt that the cover is fucking beautiful.

The Rush pretty much takes up the whole story and although I loved reading about it, it makes everything else suck. All of the relationships between David and a family member is floppy and not well done. What makes it all worse is the relationship they all had with John is barely discussed until the very end. There’s no story there, there’s no emotion, and I felt like he was just shoved into the story to get the book to go in the direction of grief. Moreover, I didn’t like the style this book is written in with the past/present tense. Not a fuck was given about the past because all it told me was how the romance between David and Bailey came to be and odd David’s family started acting after John’s death.

This Side of Salvation has a really great idea. I’ve only read one other cult like novel and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I liked how Smith-Ready went with this and made it as mellow as possible but still keeping the parts after the Rush really interesting. It’s not the typical cult where people are completely cut off from the world, there’s a  few children brides, and some gore/abuse. David, for the most part, is a strong character because he’s really flawed yet he tries his hardest to be a good person and readers get to see him grow as a person. I loved how willing he is to give up everything he’s worked so hard for to become closer to something he believes in even if it’s just for the sake of his parents. The religion is really kept to a minimum throughout This Side of Salvation, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it and I actually learned a few things about it.

Anyway you look at this, it’s still disappointing how This Side of Salvation is executed. I mean, I’m glad that it’s not the typical cult like stuff and the first chapter is really well done, it’s exciting and gritty and had my attention instantly but the story has huge holes in some crucial places like the characters themselves and their relationships. Nonetheless, I would still recommend this, mostly to anyone who’s looking for something a bit different to read about and don’t mind some boring characters.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.