Thursday, 26 January 2017

Blog Tour Review: The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

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.

By: Ellen Hopkins
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Pages: 608
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Received an egalley of the book through Lady Reader's Bookstuff to participate in the blog tour and give an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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 became hooked on Ellen Hopkins' books a few years ago when I finally picked up CRANK, so now I'm always eager to pick up her new books when they release and THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN was no exception! 

Like all of Ellen's books THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN immediately sounded like it was going to be a book with some subjects that are hard to handle and read about. From the description alone, it's clear that this book is tackling some pretty serious issues, like abuse, abandonment, sexuality, and even kidnapping. Having finished it now, I can tell you that it definitely does tackle all of those subjects, and it's tough to read at times. I could see this book being a trigger to some though, so I will warn you about the abuse because that was definitely the part that was the hardest for me to read. Ariel's father was a very gifted manipulator, and he was very good at spinning everything so that Ariel didn't feel as if she was being abused. At times it was fairly subtle, but at others, it was right there out in the open and even Ariel had a hard time denying it. I don't want to spoil any specific parts of the book, so I hope you don't mind my vagueness. I do feel like that might trigger some people though, so I wanted to bring that out in the open during my review. While I found the abuse aspect of the story pretty difficult to swallow, Ariel's sexuality was a part of the story that really made me think. It wasn't cut and dry, and Ellen Hopkins' spent a very thorough part of Ariel's internal narrative exploring it which I really appreciated! I think that was my favourite aspect of the story because I thought it was really well done!

THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN tells both Ariel's and Maya's story, and the two intersect at a pretty interesting point. Ariel's POV is told in Ellen Hopkins's characteristic verse style, while Maya's is in prose. Both characters's lives had some pretty tough spots, and I loved seeing how the two stories interwove. It was a fairly quick read, and definitely kept me interested in seeing what would unfold next! The only part that fell a little flat for me was the ending. It felt rather abrupt, but other than that, I definitely enjoyed it, and I'm extremely glad that I read it!

Overall, I really enjoyed THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN. As I said, it was tough to read at times, but I thought that the issues within the book were tackled really well, and Ellen Hopkins' writing style complemented the story perfectly! I'd recommend this one to anyone who already enjoys Ellen's books, and to anyone who's looking for a story that isn't afraid to tackle some hard hitting issues.




"Bring Me to Life," Evanescence

  • "Uprising," Muse
  • Sweet Dreams," Marilyn Manson

  • "Hang Me Up to Dry," Cold War Kids
"Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," Cage the Elephan



  • "Still Breathing," Green Day

  • "Oh No," Bring Me the Horizon
"Snow Cats," AFI
"Sweet Disaster," Dreamers
"Numb," Linkin Park

About Ellen:

Ellen 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.

Connect with Ellen: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr

What do you think?
Are you a fan of Ellen Hopkins?
Are you planning to read The You I've Never Known?


  1. I'm so glad you liked this one Ambur- I did not (I also just posted my review this past week). I completely agree with your analysis on Ari's father and his ability to manipulate her. It was chilling actually. I also wasn't thrilled with the end, it felt a little to clean for me.

    Great review!

  2. Admittedly, it's the writing style that has always scared me off from her books. I'm just not sure I could get into it! I should definitely try it for myself sometime before making that judgement though. Ellen seems like a skilled character writer.


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