Title: The You I've Never Known
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
To start us on, I figured I should be very honest with you. I pretty much begged Hannah at Irish Banana Book Tours to put me onto this blog tour. I knew I wanted to read the book, I knew I had an ARC already, and I knew that I would continue to put off reading if I wasn't on the blog tour. I do that. I put off books I really want to read almost indefinitely at times. If I read them then they can be over and I don't want them to be over. This is a really bad habit to have, I know...
Well, Hannah apparently found it in her heart to add me to this blog tour and I am so thankful that she did!
The You I've Never Known is probably my favorite Ellen Hopkins book that I have read so far. I really think that she knocked this one out of the park.
The You I've Never Known is mostly told from Ariel's perspective. She is a 17 year old girl who has lived pretty much her entire life moving from one place to another with her dad. At times he would find a lady friend to live with for a short amount of time and other times they would just live out of the car. Ariel's mother abandoned her and her father to be with her girl friend and gave up on them, so she has been out of Ariel's life for a very very long time.
At the point in her life that this story occurs though, Ariel and her father have finally put down some temporary roots in California. Ariel is finally at a place in her life where she can let herself start to have friends and to find who she really is.
And that brings us to one of the big questions that Ariel looks to solve during the course of this story. Who she is, especially when it comes to her sexual identity. Is she into men? Is she into women? Is she into both? Can she be bisexual? Is that even a possibility?
And The You I've Never Known follows along with Ariel while she ponders these questions and works to discover herself and the answers to these questions....and more. So much more.
Along with having Ariel's story, we also get a few "journal entries" from a girl named Maya. Maya is trying to navigate life and get away from her abusive mother.
Oh my goodness guys. My mind is still reeling from reading this. I cannot stop thinking about it. There is just so much in this book! Discovering oneself, sexual identity, abuse, and more. It is a really hard hitting read. I had to put the book down on more than one occasion because there were points that were tough for me to get through and I had to take the extra time to digest what I had just read. However, I could never put it down for very long because I just had to know what was going to happen next!
I will say that while I felt very invested in Ariel, that I didn't find myself drawn too much to the other characters. The only exception of this was Maya. It is probably because most of this story is about Ariel and told by Ariel. So it is like you are in her mind. It doesn't allow us to really get to know other characters all that deeply, but it does really let us get to know Ariel. And I really liked getting to know Ariel.
I guess it doesn't really need to be said since this is an Ellen Hopkins book, but just in case you are new to her books... like the rest of her books there are some definite trigger warnings. Domestic abuse and child abuse are two very strong topics for this book...and alcohol consumption. Also, Ariel's father is very anti LGBTQIA and feel that should be noted. It is part of Ariel's story though, but I just wanted readers to be aware of it.
Like I said in the beginning of my review, I really enjoyed The You I've Never Known. It found myself very pulled in and rooting for Ariel to find her true self. I am glad I read it and didn't put it off!
This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.
Follow the Tour!
1/25: Who R U Blog - Review
2/3: Bookiemoki - Q&A