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Author Spotlight: Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins was born on March 26, 1955 in Long Beach, California and grew up in Palm Springs. She is a poet who writes mostly novels in verse. Novels in verse are essentially novels composed of many short poems. They still have characters, a plot, and a storyline like traditional novels do. Something that is unique to novels in verse and poetry, in general, is the ability to convey messages and emotions using relatively few words.

Her first novel was Crank, which was loosely based on her daughter's struggle with addiction. According to her website, "Crank began as a personal exploration of the “why’s” behind my daughter’s decisions, and what part I might have played in them. By writing the story from “my daughter’s” perspective, I learned a lot, both about her, and about myself. But I also learned a lot about the nature of addiction, and the physiology of this particular substance. For those struggling with similar addictions, there is help, but the road to recovery is not easy. The addict has to want to get well. Rehabilitation cannot be forced."

Many of Ellen Hopkin's novels explore mature themes and topics in a delicate, hauntingly beautiful way. She has written adult novels, young adult novels, and novels geared toward middle-grade readers (usually ages 8-12). While these middle-grade novels are geared towards a certain age group, they are also ideal for those who want to read about less serious topics.

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