Day: October 10, 2014

Rumble – Ellen Hopkins



Author: Ellen Hopkins

Number of Pages: 546

Publish Date: August 26th, 2014

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Poetry

Can an atheist be saved? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of faith and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.


This book made me tear up in the middle and to be honest, I’m not even sure why. Maybe it was the feelings I had coming off of Torn Away. Maybe it was the fact that I was tired. I’m not sure guys. It wasn’t even all that sad.

Rumble was the first Ellen Hopkins book I can say that I read and understood. I read Crank at one point, but I was kind of naive and didn’t really understand that it was about crystal meth. (Let’s be honest. I didn’t even understand the verse poetry.) I now know that Hopkins writes about serious issues and in this particular novel, suicides and the repercussions it has on the people that are left to mourn.

I have a thing with liking books where the characters are questioning religion. I always find it kind of refreshing to read about for some reason. I really liked the essay bits that represented Matt’s writing although I don’t think a teacher would give him a good grade for what he wrote. The characters were mildly characterized. Hayden and Alexa were kind of flat but I thought that I could understand Matt’s personality pretty well.

I did have a few problems with this one though.

I could not, for the life of me, ever connect with Hayden or Matt. I sympathized, but I never could really say that I connected with him. I though Hayden was sleazy throughout the whole novel. I’m not really sure if I like Matt or not. Sometimes I thought he was a new level of overly obsessive and at other times I just wanted to resurrect his dead brother for him. The love triangle was kind of annoying seeing as the development wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. Hayden is kind of a terrible girlfriend and Matt is kind of a terrible boyfriend. At first, I didn’t even understand why they were together because their relationship was all types of unhealthy. And Alexa is just a mess. I shipped Alexa and Matt but reading about the jealousy and drama between all of them wasn’t that great. On top of it, I didn’t like the development of the romance whatsoever. It felt kind of insta-love-y and I felt like it detracted from the bulk of the plot.

It also bugged me that Matt always said he loved Hayden but at the same time, kept thinking about Alexa. If that isn’t a sign that something is wrong, I don’t know what is.

The entire book I was waiting for what was referred to as “the rumble” (Which, for the record, doesn’t show up until like page 350-60ish. Takes forever to build up to it and all the rising action is kind of boring). It wasn’t really surprising and I was disappointed when I realized that that scene was the “big moment” that was supposed to be the turning point. It might have been an emotionally charged scene where Matt realizes that everything he’s believed was wrong but I was expecting it to happen at some point. I just didn’t expect it to be the climax of the novel. I know I probably sound a bit cray right now because you probably don’t know what I’m talking about but I can’t spoil. Sorry!

I enjoyed the writing. It was poetic but at the same time it also was pretty in a simple way.

I did like the ending, right before Matt gets into the hospital. I liked the shooting he did and I liked the way he grew from the experience. But I wish Hopkins had covered less in the novel. She tried to cover suicide, homosexuality, family problems, bad romantic relationships, etc, all in the same novel, and at times, I found it cumbersome. I think I would have enjoyed the novel more if it had focused on one specific topic.

3.5 Stars