One of my favorite authors while I was in high school was Ellen Hopkins. I stayed up-to-date with all of her books as they came out, anticipating her next release. That continued into college, but the last few years while I was in my reading funk, I haven’t read anything by her. So when I was perusing http://www.bookoutlet.com and saw a book by her that I’ve never seen before, I knew I had to get it.
Rumble follows Matt, a teenager who only a few months ago lost his brother Luke, when he committed suicide. Luke had come out as gay and their conservative town had a hard time accepting it, he faced bullies not only from fellow students but also adults within the town and from his own parents. His father, a basketball playing jock, couldn’t believe he had raised such a “pussy” as he puts it. His mother who up until that point never mentioned religion much, suddenly played the saint. Luke found himself at his breaking point and killed himself, and it devastated Matt. Now, months after his death, Matt finds himself minus a few friends (those who helped contribute to Luke’s bullying); angry; and missing his brother and best friend. As the story continues, Matt realizes that he and his girlfriend’s relationship isn’t as strong as he thought it was, people he thought he could trust, he couldn’t, and that no matter what anybody in town says, he can’t believe in a god that would allow his brother to have been abused as he was ultimately leading him to kill himself.
This book, like all of Ellen Hopkins’ books, is a brutally honest look at life and how different people react to things as tragic as suicide. The book touches on a variety of different issues such as suicide, LGBT issues, abuse, PTSD, anxiety, depression. The story, like all of her stories, is sad but real and honest. It shows a struggle with faith that I think is very relatable to a lot of people because his lack of faith deals with the loss he has felt from his brother’s death. I will say it is not my favorite Ellen Hopkins book, but I still really enjoyed it, but if you’re a first time reader of hers, I highly recommend either Tricks or Triangles or Crank, those are definitely my top three favorites by her.