People Kill People – Ellen Hopkins

If you give fear a voice, it will curse you.” (pg 270)

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins follows six teens in Tucson, Arizona. Each having different ideals from pro-immigration to White Power. A gun that already changed one person’s life is bought by one of the teens and by the time the you get to the end this gun changes someone’s life again.

I have been reading Ellen Hopkins for at least ten years. I appreciate that she’s trying to do new things but it just didn’t work for me. I picked up Ellen Hopkins’ novels years ago because they were so different then any YA book that I’d ever seen at that time. It utilized prose and explored dark themes that need to be talked about. People Kill People has some of the prose that I expected but the novel also uses regular storytelling writing for the most part. It just didn’t work for me.

Hopkins’ does continue with her theme of writing about dark topics. This time she explores gun violence, something that needs to be explored especially with the increasing amount of gun deaths in the United States. Hopkins’ does a good job of this, each character has a reason to want a gun and some of the reason are good and some of them are not. But as always even good intentions can run awry. I did like this aspect of the novel and found to bring all of the diverse characters together with a common thread.

I just couldn’t get in to the writing of this novel as much as her other ones. I’m glad that she is willing to experiment with her writing and going out of her YA comfort zone, but it just didn’t work for me. It is thought provoking which I did enjoy, but it just didn’t make up for my disappointment in the writing.

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