Cover image for The you I've never known / Ellen Hopkins.
The you I've never known / Ellen Hopkins.
Title Variants:
You I have never known

First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [2017]

Physical Description:
590 pages ; 22 cm
With both joy and fear, seventeen-year-old Ariel begins to explore her sexuality, while living with her controlling, abusive father who has told Ariel that her mother deserted her years ago.
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: Ages 14 & up.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
HOP Book Teen Collection
HOP Paperback Teen Collection
HOP Book Teen Collection

On Order



How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it's been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel's mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya's a teenager who's run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she's isolated with a baby on the way, and life's getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya's lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel's mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn't abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad's woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she's been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins's deft hands, Ariel's emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya's story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves--for both the last and the very first time.

Author Notes

Ellen Hopkins was born in Long Beach, California on March 26, 1955. She started her writing career with a number of nonfiction books for children, including Air Devils and Orcas: High Seas Supermen. She has written about 20 non-fiction books. Her first novel, Crank, was written in verse and met with critical acclaim. Her other fiction works include Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Tilt, Collateral, Smoke and Traffick, which made the New York Times Best-Seller list in 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Once again tackling difficult subject matter through elegantly crafted free verse, Hopkins (Traffick) tells the story of 17-year-old Ariel; her father, Mark; and Maya, also 17, who jumps into a relationship with an older man to escape her mother. Mark is an alcoholic drifter, prone to angry and violent outbursts. He has finally settled down long enough for Ariel to finish an entire school year in Sonora, Calif., where Ariel has allowed herself to develop real friendships and even consider the possibility of finding love. Hopkins uses spare yet poignant language to convey Ariel's simultaneous joy and fear as she begins to explore her sexuality ("the need to embrace/ this part of myself/ is escalating") while dealing with an abusive, homophobic, and controlling parent. Maya, whose chapters are written in first-person prose, intersects with Mark and Ariel's lives in an unexpected way, deepening the story's exploration of identity. Hopkins creates a satisfying and moving story, and her carefully structured poems ensure that each word and phrase is savored. Ages 14-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.



The You I've Never Known I Can't Remember Every place Dad and I have called home. When I was real little, the two of us sometimes lived in our car. Those memories are in motion. Always moving. I don't think I minded it so much then, though mixed in with happy recollections are snippets of intense fear. I didn't dare ask why one stretch of sky wasn't good enough to settle under. My dad likes to say he came into this world infected with wanderlust. He claims I'm lucky, that at one day till I turn seventeen I've seen way more places than most folks see in an entire lifetime. I'm sure he's right on the most basic level, and while I can't dig up snapshots of North Dakota, West Virginia, or Nebraska, how could I ever forget watching Old Faithful spouting way up into the bold amethyst Yellowstone sky, or the granddaddy alligator ambling along beside our car on a stretch of Everglade roadway? I've inhaled heavenly sweet plumeria perfume, dodging pedicab traffic in the craziness of Waikiki. I've picnicked in the shadows of redwoods older than the rumored son of God; nudged up against the edge of the Grand Canyon as a pair of eagles played tag in the warm air currents; seen Atlantic whales spy-hop; bodysurfed in the Pacific; and picked spring- inspired Death Valley wildflowers. I've listened to Niagara Falls percussion, the haunting song of courting loons. So I guess my dad is right. I'm luckier than a whole lot of people. Excerpted from The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.