The You I've Never Known

The You I've Never Known

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 sch...

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Title:The You I've Never Known
Author:Ellen Hopkins
Rating:
ISBN:1481442902
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:608 pages

The You I've Never Known Reviews

  • Bonnie
    Dec 19, 2016

    My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

    Arielle has only ever known her dad from an early age. Dependable yet temperamental, he’s taken care of her for years on his own. Bounced from house to house and differe

    My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

    Arielle has only ever known her dad from an early age. Dependable yet temperamental, he’s taken care of her for years on his own. Bounced from house to house and different woman to woman, Arielle and her father have finally settled down long enough in a town for her to begin to get comfortable. She’s joined the girls basketball team, she’s made friends, and she’s discovered a side of her sexuality that she fears. She’s never had a mom because according to her dad, she left both of them for her lesbian lover. Coming out to her father as the same would be beyond reckless.

    Maya has a difficult relationship with her mother. She ran her father out of the house and joined Scientology, expecting Maya to do the same. When her mother tells her they’ll be moving from Texas to Sea Org in Los Angeles, a Scientology organization, she concocts a way to avoid having to go: she gets pregnant. The father, Sergeant Jason Ritter, proposes to her and she feels relief at finally escaping her mother but she’s traded one bad situation for another.

    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. While her stories are always lengthy in page count, the time it took for that big reveal to happen seemed to be dragged out for longer than was necessary. Often with Hopkins’ writing style, you find yourself getting lost in the beauty of her words. She still used verse as her main writing style and her typical formatting is there but it was much less lyrical and much more dense with a lot of backstory that lacked the passion her stories usually have. The main issue was with how the parents are portrayed. Her villains come in many forms, but in this story, they were the parents of both Maya and Arielle. They were both written as manic and often terrifying people, with little to no redeeming qualities. It was all black, no white, and definitely no gray area, and this lack of complexity caused them to come off as caricatures and nothing more.

    Hopkins has long been a favorite 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, I only wish that she would also focus more on the poetic aspects that make these ugly subjects beautiful.

  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)
    Jan 07, 2017

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    Ellen Hopkins has been at the top of my favourite authors list probably since about the time I was in grade 9. Which would be about 12 years ago now…okay, before I go through an existential crisis, you should know that I was beyond excited when I found out that Ellen Hopkins had a new nov

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    Ellen Hopkins has been at the top of my favourite authors list probably since about the time I was in grade 9. Which would be about 12 years ago now…okay, before I go through an existential crisis, you should know that I was beyond excited when I found out that Ellen Hopkins had a new novel that would be released this year. Not only that, but I literally freaked out when I found out I’d have the opportunity to read and review it for Big City Bookworm! The You I’ve Never Known is a perfect addition to the wonderful world of Ellen Hopkins and I really enjoyed reading it!

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    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 girls 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.

    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. I liked reading about her two love interests, Monica and Gabe, and how Ariel knew she loved them both, but for different reasons. Even though Ariel’s father wasn’t the greatest person (I’m trying not to spoil things here), it was interesting to learn about his past and the issues that he had to deal with…which probably caused him to do half of things that he did.

    Ellen Hopkins is known for writing in verse. I LOVE her writing, and I have ever since I was an early teenager. I had never read anything written in prose before reading Crank and because it was something so new to me, I absolutely loved it. Her books look huge and intimidating at first glance, but they are so fast paced and they move so smoothly while also being so beautifully written.

    Different in the sense that it was very unlike the many other books that I have read by Ellen Hopkins in the past. It was a lot lighter…which is kind of funny considering that The You I’ve Never Known contains some pretty serious subject matter. It’s just that in comparison to some of the topics that Ellen Hopkins has covered in the past (of which I have read) this was pretty tame…which was a really nice and interesting change.

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    I really REALLY wish that I hadn’t read the description on the back of this book. I felt like it gave so much away and basically spoiled what could have been a pretty great twist/shock.

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    Overall, I’m still beyond excited that I was able to read and review this for Big City Bookworm. I really enjoyed The You I’ve Never Known and I can’t wait to read more from Ellen Hopkins in the future!

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    Ellen Hopkins has been one of my favourite authors ever since I was in high school. It's been a while since I've read anything by her and I'm so happy that I was given the opportunity to read her new novel The You I've Never Known.

    In terms of your standard Ellen Hopkins book, The You I've Never Known is not as intense as some of her past works, but it still deals with some serious and heavy topics which is a staple in her novels.

    As always, The You I've Never Known is written in prose which makes it a really quick and fast-paced read!

    One thing I will say though, this synopsis gives WAY TOO MUCH away. I wish I hadn't read it before I started the book.

  • Jill
    Jan 05, 2017

    This book was a pleasant surprise! Having never read a book by Ellen Hopkins before, I wasn't sure what to expect going into it. I've heard so much about how she writes stories that shock people and that deal with pretty controversial issues. I've also never read a book made up mostly of verse, so that was also a unique experience. Overall, I found myself being completely sucked into the story. Ariel Pearson is a girl who struggles with her sexuality. She's not entirely sure whether she straight

    This book was a pleasant surprise! Having never read a book by Ellen Hopkins before, I wasn't sure what to expect going into it. I've heard so much about how she writes stories that shock people and that deal with pretty controversial issues. I've also never read a book made up mostly of verse, so that was also a unique experience. Overall, I found myself being completely sucked into the story. Ariel Pearson is a girl who struggles with her sexuality. She's not entirely sure whether she straight, bi, or gay and it was so interesting to watch her figure this out. Her entire story arc I think was just brilliantly portrayed. However, I did think her relationships with Caleb and Monica were a bit strange and unconvincing. Her constant comparisons were also a bit annoying and unrealistic.

    Maya Macabe was also an interesting character. I believe she grows so much from the naive girl at the beginning of the book to the woman she is at the end. When these two girl collide, I was completely shocked. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll leave it at it caught me off guard and idk why I didn't see that earlier haha. This is a story about home, family, abuse, friendship, and figuring who you are even when that seems impossible. Even though I had some minor problems with it, I still overall enjoyed myself and even teared up a bit at the ending. I will for sure be picking up more Ellen Hopkins in the future!

  • Jacquelyn
    Jan 29, 2017

    This is probably my new favorite book written by Ellen Hopkins. It touched on so many different subjects and the relationships of the characters, the family dynamics, the letters, etc. were all so real and raw. I really liked how the majority of this book was written in verse but there were letters and some things at the end that were written in prose. I absolutely loved this book and was so surprised finding out that Ellen Hopkins was inspired to write this book from her

    This is probably my new favorite book written by Ellen Hopkins. It touched on so many different subjects and the relationships of the characters, the family dynamics, the letters, etc. were all so real and raw. I really liked how the majority of this book was written in verse but there were letters and some things at the end that were written in prose. I absolutely loved this book and was so surprised finding out that Ellen Hopkins was inspired to write this book from her own personal experiences. The only reason I took half a star off was because this one was a little long. I loved that it kept going and going because I thought the story was great but there was some details/pages that weren't absolutely necessary so it felt a little dragged out. Other than that very small detail, I absolutely loved this book. I would love to see a follow-up book to this to see where these characters are at now.

  • Karen (The Book Return)
    Feb 01, 2017

    The review and more on my blog.

    'The You I've Never Known' follows two girls Ariel and Maya. Both begin the story struggling to deal with dysfunctional living situations. Ariel's father moves them from place to place never staying in one spot long. He tells Ariel that her mother left the family and that she doesn't want anything to do with Ariel. Maya has an abusive mother who keeps strict tabs on her. She later flees from her mother into anther bad situation.

    I was super excit

    The review and more on my blog.

    'The You I've Never Known' follows two girls Ariel and Maya. Both begin the story struggling to deal with dysfunctional living situations. Ariel's father moves them from place to place never staying in one spot long. He tells Ariel that her mother left the family and that she doesn't want anything to do with Ariel. Maya has an abusive mother who keeps strict tabs on her. She later flees from her mother into anther bad situation.

    I was super excited when I found out that I would be part of the 'The You I've Never Known' blog tour. I have heard so many wonderful things about Ellen Hopkins books. Even though I have several of her books on my TBR shelf, I had yet to read one before now. I was in for an amazing surprise. This book is beautifully written. Since part of this novel is written in verse form (as are all of Ellen Hopkins books),at first I wasn't sure if the story would come together for me. Wow, did come together beautifully. This book was so engrossing, I literally could not put it down.

    I loved both the characters of Ariel and Maya. Both characters were amazing written. They were both vulnerable and interesting but true to life. The storyline was fresh and raw while still being moving.Ariel and Maya's stories came together beautifully almost like a puzzle snapping together. I was a little disappointed in the ending but not enough to really affect how I felt about the book.

    This book demonstrates how a slice of life book can be just as enthralling as any thriller or mystery. A definitely must read for those that love a good down on their luck story. However, I think everyone should give this one a try. I have already ordered several more of Ellen Hopkins' books and can not wait to dig into the next one.

  • Book Riot Community
    Jan 25, 2017

    Using both verse and prose, Hopkins yells the story of Ariel, a seventeen-year-old ready to start a life on her own, and Maya, a pregnant teen running from an abusive mother. Ariel and Maya’s lives collide when Ariel’s estranged mother shows up, claiming Ariel was kidnapped by her father when she was a toddler. Hopkins delivers an intense story of two girls in search of truth and redemption while seeking to create their own lives.

    Backlist bump: Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

    Tune i

    Using both verse and prose, Hopkins yells the story of Ariel, a seventeen-year-old ready to start a life on her own, and Maya, a pregnant teen running from an abusive mother. Ariel and Maya’s lives collide when Ariel’s estranged mother shows up, claiming Ariel was kidnapped by her father when she was a toddler. Hopkins delivers an intense story of two girls in search of truth and redemption while seeking to create their own lives.

    Backlist bump: Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

    Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    Jan 26, 2017

    I love Ellen Hopkins and her books but this one was just okay to me. It's still written in her beautiful verse that I love but I felt like it was too long. <---Yes, her books are long but there were things I didn't really care to read about and it went on and on before things started to fall into place.

    I did love most of the characters and I felt so bad for Ariel, the way her dad treated her. I mean here she is at seventeen still begging him to let her get her driver's license and he doesn't

    I love Ellen Hopkins and her books but this one was just okay to me. It's still written in her beautiful verse that I love but I felt like it was too long. <---Yes, her books are long but there were things I didn't really care to read about and it went on and on before things started to fall into place.

    I did love most of the characters and I felt so bad for Ariel, the way her dad treated her. I mean here she is at seventeen still begging him to let her get her driver's license and he doesn't want her getting a job. It's like she has to be stuck to his hip.

    Ariel does have some friends and this is the one city they have stayed in the longest as they have moved all of her life. Just on and on. . .

    But now Ariel has friends and love interests and she wants to stay and be a teen!

    Maya's story isn't as much in the book as Ariel's but it tells about how she ends up getting pregnant and thinks this is the best thing to get away from her mom. She marries a military man and they travel where ever he is stationed. She has a beautiful baby girl but things are never what they seem.

    I love when we are almost at the end of the book and all of the pieces fit together. I already knew what was coming, I figured it out about halfway through. But I also loved that Ariel got to become the person she was hoping for in certain ways. She also made more wonderful friends.

    MY BLOG:

  • Emerald
    Jan 28, 2017

    Let me start by saying I am a huge

    fan. I've read every single one of her other books and freaking loved them. So when I heard about this one coming out I was so excited to get my hands on it cause it's been awhile since one her books has been new to me. This book held the same rawness and beauty that all of

    others book have but for me person

    Let me start by saying I am a huge

    fan. I've read every single one of her other books and freaking loved them. So when I heard about this one coming out I was so excited to get my hands on it cause it's been awhile since one her books has been new to me. This book held the same rawness and beauty that all of

    others book have but for me personally, it has to be my least favorite Ellen Hopkins book. I think between characters and just the story I wasn't

    captivated by this book as I usually am the some of Ellen's other stories. I wasn't crazy about Ariel. I know Ariel is a flawed character but I just found her behavior annoying and I didn't care for Monica all that much either. I connected more with Maya's parts of the books. I was more excited to read her parts and I definitely got more emotional during her parts of the book. Maya felt more like an

    character to me because I can really tap into her whereas with Ariel I just didn't feel much. It's probably just a personal thing because like I said this book still packs the punch that all her other books do, I just personally didn't fall as hard for this story. I don't have many actual complaints or cons. The fact that Ellen experienced something like this in real life really does give the book that much more rawness. If you're looking for an emotional trip that is not going to be sugar coated in any way what so ever, read this book or any other book by Ellen Hopkins.

    Until Next Time,

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    Jan 28, 2017

    I read this in one sitting & to put it simply, I loved it! I will say that if you're planning on reading this book, DO NOT READ THE DESCRIPTION. It spoils the plot twist. (I'll admit even if I hadn't read the description, I probably would've seen the twist coming lol) This was such a heart felt, sad, & rewarding story. It was also really interesting reading the author's note & finding out that this is based on a personal experience that Ellen Hopkins faced.

  • Rose
    Feb 21, 2017

    Quick review for a quick read. As per usual, Ellen Hopkins' works tend to feel like I've ran a sheer emotional gauntlet. The experience leaves me winded in the aftermath (in a good way). How does someone describe the whirlwind that is this novel? It's hard not to be drawn into it because you get so connected to the emotional journeys of the character within, how complex and complicated they are, and even hoping that - in the end - things turn out the best . I'll admit I saw the twists in the rel

    Quick review for a quick read. As per usual, Ellen Hopkins' works tend to feel like I've ran a sheer emotional gauntlet. The experience leaves me winded in the aftermath (in a good way). How does someone describe the whirlwind that is this novel? It's hard not to be drawn into it because you get so connected to the emotional journeys of the character within, how complex and complicated they are, and even hoping that - in the end - things turn out the best . I'll admit I saw the twists in the relationship between these protagonists coming, but even with that the "Aha!" moment felt satisfying to watch as the stories came together.

    So: "The You I've Never Known" is largely a story about identity and the process of coming to terms with it. This happens multi-fold in the case of Ariel, a young woman who's spent most of her life on the run with her father. She's 17 years old and has never stayed in one place for too long, been in the go-betweens of her father and his numerous relationships that seem to come and go as the need arises. When I say need - well, it means a roof, food, booze, and sex in the case of the father. Ariel's father is a horrible douche, and this novel doesn't flinch at showing his flaws, but also the complicated relationship Ariel has with him. There are many times when she loves him and stays, but others where he abuses and uses her and she wants nothing more than to go.

    But Ariel finally finds a place where she feels wanted, between relationships as she is a bisexual woman exploring relationships with a boy (Gabe) and a Latina girl (Monica). So things quickly become complicated as Ariel realizes she wants to finally give herself a grounded place (a steady job, to be able to have a car on her own, etc.)

    The narrative trades spaces with Maya's narrative (distinguished between Ariel's narrative in prose form. Ariel's narration is in the form of poetry.) Maya is a woman who's escaped an abusive mother in Scientology and seeks a relationship with a man who's in the miliary, but certain events play out that complicate the relationship between Maya, her husband, and the baby named Casey whom Maya writes to in her entries.

    I won't spoil too much more in terms of the story's events, but it definitely felt like it packed a lot of events and conflict into one story (9/11, homophobia, struggles with bisexuality/sexual identity, abusive relationships, gaslighting, etc.). That not to say that the experience doesn't read smoothly, I read this in a matter of about 3 hours or so and didn't put down the book once. Yet, there were parts of the story that I definitely feel like could've used more distinct ties and resolutions and somehow that left a bit of a void and an aching for certain character ties to be more intimate (though the character connections and establishments were solid for the most part).

    I think this is as strong of an addition to Hopkins's bibliography as any of her works and I enjoyed the experience. I also recognize how brave it was for her to write this narrative given that portions of it were based on true events. Overall, I'd certainly re-read this narrative and thought it was well worth the time spent.

    Overall score: 4/5 stars.