Monday, October 6, 2014

{ARC Review} Rumble: Ellen Hopkins

Rating: 67%
Series: None
Genre: LGBTQ, Religion, Poetry, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Young Adult,
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Page Count: 542
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Margaret K. McElderry Books via Once Upon a Time Children's Bookstore

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Can an atheist be saved? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of faith and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there 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.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Margaret K. McElderry Books via Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose, California in exchange for an honest review. 

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Fans of books in free verse such as Audacious (Gabrielle Prendergrast) & Kiss of Broken Glass (Madeline Kuderick)
People who would like a different, strong perspective of atheism told from the perspective of an articulate, somewhat forceful teenage boy

Would I Buy It?
While this book was highly anticipated by myself, I will have to admit that I was disappointed with what this story actually ended up being. I don't think I would buy it, unless I felt the urge to look at a pretty finished copy on my bookshelves.

Background & Backstory
The backstory with how I obtained RUMBLE is the same backstory as I had with Anatomy of a Misfit (Andrea Portes) and Falling Into Place (Amy Zhang). I am friends with the owner -Maureen Palacios- and she so generously let me pick out a few ARCs to read and review. 

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
You're kidding me, right? You're kidding me.

So I finished RUMBLE last Sunday, but waited to review it until I watched the #ReadytoRumble liveshow which is put on by the people over at Booksplosion which is a group of four BookTubers -Katytastic, PolandBananasBooks, Jesse The Reader & Ariel Bissett- every month where they (and the rest of the bookish community that chooses to participate) reads a book and then comes together at the end of the month to discuss it.

I wanted to wait so that I would be able to have more incite and other people's opinions in regards to RUMBLE and the Booksplosion people all had different, extremely interesting perspectives. This particular liveshow covered the topics of cheating, religion, mismarketing, gun control, excessive alcohol consumption, and a lot of other topics that, even a few years ago, were taboo.

Cool, I'm going to read this book because of its interesting premise. I hope it delivers what I  expect from it.
The majority of the readers of RUMBLE and myself went into the book expecting quite a different story than what we got. I don't know if this was intentional misguiding to draw people in or just a misinterpretation. We all went into RUMBLE thinking that we would be getting a book about an atheist who has heard this rumble which sends him down a deep, spiritual journey of self-discovery and enlightenment about faith.

Okay then book, give me an entirely different plot than what I signed up for.... I get it. I'll sit over hear and cry.
While I have never been into super-religious books, the aspect RUMBLE of that I was most anticipating  was the spiritual aspect because I read the BURNED Duology, also by Ellen Hopkins, which shed a new light on Mormonism, which made me extremely intrigued to see how she would take on Christianity and Atheism. Without spoiling anything, I will say that Matthew hears a rumble at the END of the novel and the events in this book depict his spiral into a dark place that build UP to him hearing it.
Fine.... I'll just read this book instead, but I'm still confused
This automatically brought down other reader's and my own rating of RUMBLE because we had to account for the time when we still thought this book would tell the story the synopsis told, then the time where we had to reboot our brains to go along with the actual synopsis, and then finally accept what the story actually was. And it's certainly not to say that I'm not able to adapt to changes in a story, but personally, the story that I got out of RUMBLE just wasn't as satisfying as I expected it to be compared to Hopkin's other works.

If you have never read an Ellen Hopkins book before this one, I would suggest that you start off with a different one. BURNED, IDENTICAL, and TRICKS are all books of hers that are excellent introductions to her unique style. While I'm talking about Hopkin's writing style, I should mention that her writing is in free verse, which means that the book is formatted like poetry and is extremely lyrical. She also deals with taboo and generally controversial subjects such as drugs (CRANK), depression (IMPULSE), schizophrenia (IDENTICAL), mormons (BURNED), and prostitution (TRICKS). If you needed to visually represent the phrase "say it like you mean it," all you would need to do is hold up any of her books.
I actually like this protagonist?
Generally, I have issues with Ellen Hopkins because they are so mentally messed up to a point where it seems unlikely and certainly not as easy to connect and relate with them. Matt.... was a different story. He was strong, and the essay that was the catalyst for where this story began was extremely articulate and opinionated, which I couldn't help but relate to because I would probably have written the same things he did if I were in his situation.

I didn't agree with all of his decisions and thoughts, far from it actually, but when it came to his strong feelings against religion, I had to agree with a lot of them. People always say that things in life need to be had in moderation, and I believe this applies to religion. There are extremists on EVERY spectrum, there's no question about it. Matt's girlfriend -Hayden- was a super-Christian and utterly dedicated to Jesus. So when Matt questioned her beliefs and she couldn't back them up.... I had to agree with some of his opinions.

*Disclaimer: I am still a teenager, I haven't solidified my personal beliefs and don't believe I will ever get to a point where I am 100% certain of my feelings. I am also not Atheist, and I am perfectly accepting of other people's religions and beliefs*

I have Snape to say it for me
Like a lot of Hopkin's novels, cheating takes place, and personally, I am against cheating.... especially with the situation in this book. Kat provided some incite on this topic, saying that Matt didn't break up with Hayden because so much in his life had changed, that he didn't want to let her go as well. Yet, I disagreed because it was CLEAR as day the two of them were a bad match, and he had to go behind her back (even if she was a horrible person) and sleep with another girl.

Lastly, I would like to say that the free-verse didn't work for RUMBLE. Unlike her other novels, the text was 95% in verses, which could have easily been converted into regular sentences. This book was dense, physically and content-wise, and I'm sorry to say, but the free-verse didn't add anything I couldn't have already gotten.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Other Books By This Author?
RUMBLE is by Ellen Hopkins, who is one of my auto-read authors. I don't necessarily agree with what she says in her books and even if I don't connect with the characters, I always feel the urge to read whatever she publishes. She provides so much perspective and reading her books is like looking through a different magnifying glass than the one I use for everyday life.

Conclusion: While RUMBLE did not deliver what I expected it to, it was definitely another thought-provoking  Ellen Hopkins book that brought up interesting food for thought.

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