by Ellen Hopkins
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 26, 2014)
Goodreads | Amazon
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.
Source: I received an ARC from Andye @ Reading Teen in exchange for an honest review.
I'm a big Ellen Hopkins fan. I just love her writing and her stories. I love how she tackles such difficult topics and doesn't hold back the ugly parts. I love how her books suck me into them and make me feel what the characters are feeling and understand what they're going through. She is an amazing author! Going into Rumble, I was expecting amazing . . . and that's exactly what I got.
How much did I love this book? Well, it made me literally jump up and down in my seat a couple times because it was so GOOD. A couple pages made me teary eyed. Some parts made me smile. Other parts made me incredibly angry at certain characters that were just so UGH. The majority of the book made me think. It made me view the task of writing this review as a tough thing because how the heck am I going to explain how amazing this book and why I just want everyone read it right now. And right now, the book is making me think that it's possibly my favorite out of all the ones I've read by Hopkins.
Okay, to the specific stuff now. First, the writing. It was lyrical. It was raw at times, beautiful at others--sometimes it was even both. There were actually some parts in prose, like an essay and a letter, and I absolutely loved how those were written. The content wasn't as mature and explicit as in anything I've read by Hopkins, but it dealt with topics just as serious. The characters' lives were less dark and tumultuous, but Matthew sure went through a tough time in his story. There was really good character growth and development. They had layers and that made me see both the good and the bad parts in each one of them (even the ones I wanted to hate completely). The story was very interesting and kept me invested in it from cover to cover. I was able to truly connect to Matthew and feel what he was feeling. Resentment, deep sadness, anger, happiness, frustration--I felt his emotions. The setting was awesome for me because I have a thing for books set in Oregon. There were so many things in this book that made me love it! I know I'm leaving out a few things, but the bottom line is that Rumble was executed very well.
My favorite thing about this entire book--the thing that makes truly love it--was its focuses/themes and the way they were dealt with. Faith and forgiveness the core focuses, but there was also spirituality/religion, love, homosexuality, sex, independence, speaking up/out, censorship, guilt, suicide, depression, and communication. There was so much packed into this book and that was the part that made me jump up and down in my seat while reading. There were so many things to spark discussions and so many things to think about. It was like brain candy! I had so many thoughts running through my head as I was reading and I always love it when that happens.
Another thing that I loved and absolutely need to mention is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I haven't read it, but since it had a role in Rumble, I think both books that similar themes. This was where speaking up/out and censorship gained focuses (the former larger than the latter) because one of the big events concerned the content in Perks (mainly dealing with sex and homosexuality) and characters' views on it. That part of the story in Rumble was my favorite. I had already thought Matthew was a good guy (despite many of his actions), but at that point I was convinced that he truly had good morals.
Two more things. One: the ending felt rushed. Things were resolved too quickly and too easily for me. It didn't leave as huge of an impact on me as I wanted it to. However, that wasn't enough to bring down my rating. Two: although there was a lot of religion in it, the book didn't feel preachy.
Overall, Rumble is one that I highly recommend reading. I think a lot of people will love this one as much as I did. Admittedly, the book is not for everyone, but I still recommend everyone to give it a try because the focuses, the themes, and the story are all very important ones.
I believe I've covered everything, so I'll just leave this review by saying this: read Rumble!