cover image Rumble


Ellen Hopkins. S&S/McElderry, $19.99 (560p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8284-5

Hopkins again tackles hot-button subjects through free verse, taking on cyberbullying, censorship, the role of religion, and the difficulties of veterans returning from war. At the center of her overstuffed but well-constructed story is smart, opinionated 18-year-old Matt, who is struggling with anger and a disintegrating family following the suicide of his gay younger brother, Luke. Matt leans on his girlfriend, Hayden, for support, while raging against her religion and the evangelical Christians whose bullying he blames for Luke’s death. When Hayden’s father tries to get the school board to remove copies of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Matt counters that “Maybe if the kids who drove [Luke] over the brink had read the right books, they would’ve understood that being gay doesn’t make you bad or even different.” A violent twist very late in the story leaves Matt with new, life-altering challenges—something that he makes peace with rather suddenly, given the circumstances. Still, Hopkins expertly documents Matt’s increasing ability to accept and love others in his life, and eventually himself. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Aug.)