The You I've Never Known
by Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN by Ellen Hopkins is a narrative told in both poetry and prose that is primarily centered on truth and self-expression. Ariel Pearson lives under the authoritative, sometimes abusive rule of her father. Throughout the novel, Ariel struggles to define her sexuality and individuality, telling her story through poetry symbolic of whomever influences her life the most at a certain moment. Although the metaphors are sometimes a bit cliched, I personally really enjoyed the poetry format. Additionally, the story of Maya McCabe, an impregnated teenager seeking comfort and reassurance in the arms of an older man, occasionally enters the story, though her role is unclear until the end of the book. This book was insightfully written and had enough light moments to keep the overall mood from being too dark. That being said, I would caution readers that there are references to sex, drugs, and violence in this novel, though they primarily take place off-screen.