The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

Let’s get ready to Rumble

By Courtney Cox (Central High School)

Rumble is a novel by New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins. Photo by Courtney Cox.

Rumble is a novel by New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins. Photo by Courtney Cox.

Can an atheist be saved? 

The author of Crank and Tricks, Ellen Hopkins, tells a riveting story of a young teen dealing with faith and forgiveness in her newest book Rumble.

The main character, Matthew Turner, does not have faith in anything. His family is in shambles after his younger brother was bullied so profusely, that it resulted in his suicide. Turner’s so-called friends turned their backs on him when times got tough. He also feels that some all-powerful creator lets too much bad stuff happen. Lastly, he is no believer in some “it gets better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend, Hayden, says about faith and forgiveness, there is no way Matthew is willing to forgive those he blames. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang” and whatever happens, happens. However, a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place and he hears a rumble—a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

The story delves into the darker side of adolescence. Turner, deals with his dysfunctional family on a daily basis. His father is a raging alcoholic and his mother distances herself from her husband and son.

His younger brother, Luke, committed suicide after being bullied for his homosexuality. The reader experiences Turner’s life slowly crumble around him to the point of almost no return, but once fate does not fix everything, it gives Matt the will to continue.

This novel contains themes such as forgiveness, religion, homosexuality and tolerance for those who are different from us. Hopkins’ work delves into the challenges teens face everyday but may not vocalize it to their parents. Hopkins’ captures her readers with her vivid words, provides the sharp punches of imagery and the overwhelming sea of emotion one experiences when reading her work.

High school students will undoubtedly enjoy this and schools should have a copy in the library. This story speaks words beyond the normal ‘compare and teach’ lessons that some textbooks do not always have the ability to do.


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