Ellen Hopkins wrote this novel about a girl who grew up in a Mormon household, and is beginning to think that this is not a lifestyle she wants for herself. With an abusive father, lazy and passive mother, and constant conflicts with the Mormon teachings and beliefs, she refuses to give in to that way of life. She refuses to ever become property to a husband who she is taught to “obey” or a baby producing machine. With her new resilience and want for a normal life, it angers her father.
He sends her to live with his estranged sister for the summer, but what he doesn’t realize is that he’s giving her freedom and a chance to live. She learns to love and that life as she knew it was never a life meant for her. Hopkins’ book shows the life of a Mormon girl; Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten. Pattyn is tired of the Mormon lifestyle and rebels against her family and the rules of her home and church.
Her father spends most of the time drunk and angry and her mother has a whole household to take care of.
After Pattyn gets in a fight and breaks a window, her family has had enough of her rebelling so they send her to live with her Aunt, out in the middle of nowhere, for the summer, so she can no longer get in trouble. It turns out that she has fun on her stay with her aunt, she learns how to drive and ride a horse, and meets the love of her life.
She fell in love with Ethan, the son of her aunt’s friend. He is not Mormon and her father would kill the both of them if they were together. After returning home things start to go bad again. She mouths off to her father and gets beaten.
She takes the rap for something her sister does, and gets beaten to save her sister. She also learns that she will have Ethan’s baby. Like all of Hopkins novels, Burned also has a tragic ending. Ethan and Pattyn get in a car wreck and she wakes up in the hospital to learn that she lost Ethan and her baby. In the end she says that God could not be love because love was a corpse, because she lost the love of her life, and the only thing remnant of him. The book leaves you with the vision of Pattyn sitting above a busy highway, about to take you own life.