Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Rumble, by Ellen Hopkins

Rumble is a dramatic story of a young boy dealing with grief, loss, and lots of guilt.

Matt has lost his little brother a few months ago as the story begins. We soon find out that his brother, Luke, was gay and committed suicide.

Matt's parents are falling apart, not that they've ever been great parents, but since Luke's death, things are even worse. Thank goodness Matt has Hayden, the girl of his dreams.

But Hayden is becoming more and more involved with her church youth group, and the youth minister, and Matt is thoroughly convinced there is no God and isn't keeping quiet about it. These conflicting beliefs and jealousy cause turmoil in their relationship.

There's a lot of turmoil in Matt's life, and he has a seemingly good therapist to help him, but she doesn't appear very often. The story is slowly revealed about just how and why Luke killed himself and why Matt is feeling like it's his fault.

Matt has a handgun that his father bought him. And no (thankfully) this isn't a story about a kid going off the deep end and shooting someone. I loved how responsible Matt was about using and storing the gun. Since shooting happens to be one of my hobbies, it was nice to see a story that showed that not everyone with a gun is out to blow people away. Matt shoots at his uncle's shooting range, and his uncle becomes a refuge as well as a confidant.

Rumble is compelling and interesting. It reads quickly (as all Hopkins' books do). But I'm not sure she can ever stand up to her earlier books, especially Crank. Rumble just doesn't pack the emotional punch of some of her other books. I would still recommend it, because it's a great story and can open up discussions about faith, bullying, and homosexuality.

It is disappointing that the eARC of Rumble isn't written in the proper free-verse format. The lines all just run together like paragraphs. I think the final book will be easier to read and more entertaining in its intended format.

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, August 26, 2014
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
560 pages

Rating: 4/5

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