I love Ellen Hopkins. She’s an amazing poet. Her novels-in-verse are so unique, and she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. Rumble confronts the issues of bullying, suicide, mental illness, religion, and homophobia.
Eighteen-year-old Matt loses faith in everything when his younger brother commits suicide. It takes a near-death experience and a few unexplainable events for Matt to start trusting the people in his life again.
I’m a huge fan of Ellen Hopkins’s work, but I didn’t like this book as much as her others. The plot seems a bit directionless at times, and the poems aren’t as varied as the ones in some of her other books. I also think that the secondary characters could have used more development. There are a lot of minor characters, and the reader doesn’t get to know them very well. A few times I found myself going, “Wait, who is that again?”
I had a hard time connecting with Matt at first. In the beginning of the book, he’s whiny and melodramatic, but I grew to like him as the story progressed. He’s complex and has a great sense of humor. He also has some serious problems, but he’s not completely loathsome. I love how much my opinion of him changed over the course of the story. I didn’t know that was possible.
I also love how the author handles religion. Matt is an atheist, but most of the people in his life are Christians. Instead of vilifying one side or the other, the story encourages readers to be open-minded and not cling to absolutes (all that ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’ stuff). The characters learn tolerance, forgiveness, and understanding. The book is worth reading just for that.
Rumble isn’t Ellen Hopkins’s strongest novel, but I still enjoyed it.