Book Review: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

RumbleRumble by Ellen Hopkins

This review is going to be spoilery. You’ve been warned. This was my first Ellen Hopkins book. This was my first book written in verse.

I’ll start out with the stuff I liked about this book:

  • I discovered I really like reading books in verse format

And now onto the stuff I disliked about this book:

  • The majority of it.

I debated turning my reading this book into a drinking game about half way through when I realized that this book wasn’t for me. The same stuff kept happening over and over, so I think it would have been a whole lot of fun. But at the same time, I’m a super light weight, so by page 20 I would have been wasted. And by the time I finished, I probably would have downed over 20 shots.

This book would have given me alcohol poisoning and killed me.

I’m not even sure why I didn’t just put down the thing. I didn’t like it. Not a single part. The only plausible reason I can think of is that the verse format had me flying through it. And I feel that once I realized I was hate-reading it, I had to finish it out of spite purely so I could write this review.

I think what first and foremost disappointed me about this book was that the rumble that this entire book was about, that the whole synopsis alluded to, happened in the last five pages of the book. The last five pages of the 546 page book. I kept waiting for this grand revelation or tremendous happening that never came until the very end and when it did, it was really quick and over with and left me with a sense of disappointment and frustration. I finished the book, said, “That was a stupid book” and then started typing this damn thing up while my thoughts were still fresh. I don’t know – maybe I missed the whole point of it. I looked for the point. I looked really really hard, but I didn’t find it.

So aside from the almighty rumble in this book being all of one page long, there were a slew of other things in this book that really rubbed me the wrong way. For one, the casual sexism. If I took a shot of alcohol for every time I read a sentence like ‘Maybe she’s really housewifey’ or ‘women are confusing’ or something like that, I’d be drunk. There is no way this book passed the Bechdel test either. And there were stuff said against men too, how they’re ‘so stubborn’ and ‘can’t help themselves’. It was disgusting.

And then there’s the main character. I hate the main character. And not in the ‘he’s purposely unlikable but I can see his reasoning so I kinda sympathize with him’ kind of way. It was in the ‘he’s an ass but I feel like the author wants you to like him anyways’ kind of way. There’s a difference there. The first type still can drive the story – that kind of character is still interesting and I’m still invested. The second type – what this main character was, is just annoying. He’s just so damn angry and whiny and selfish. He had outlets he could use to help him with his issues but he chose to avoid them. He fought with his girlfriend over the stupidest things (and she wasn’t exactly a likable character either). The two of them together just grated on my nerves. And then he goes and cheats on her (another thing that makes me dislike him) and then has the nerve to be angry when she breaks up with him (for reasons other than him cheating, but whatevs). I also don’t like how religion is portrayed in this book. There were super atheists and hardcore believers in this story – both of which definitely exist but nowhere did I see a moderate believer or non-believer. The two sides were portrayed as enemies throughout the book and while that does happen, nobody in the damn story thought about just saying “You believe this, I’ll believe this other thing and we’ll be on our way”. Everybody acted like children.

There were only two or three side-characters that I liked in this story. Surprisingly, one of those was the girl he cheated with. I actually liked her. She was the only level-headed character in my opinion. Anybody else even remotely close to the main character was kinda cruddy. It was hard to read through, I kept thinking ‘nobody would act like that, holy cow’ over and over again and it really took away from my experience reading the thing.

Overall, this book was a huge disappointment. I didn’t like how the topics covered were portrayed, I didn’t like the characters. The only thing that I like was that I was able to read it super fast.

If you know of any written-in-verse books that aren’t terrible, you tell me what they are so I can get this nasty taste out of my mouth.

Rating: 1/5 stars