On the day when his younger brother, Luke, needed him the most, Matt Turner wasn’t there for him. Now, after Luke’s suicide, Matt lives in guilt over not being there for his brother both during the bullying that lead to his suicide and on that last day; anger at both his parents for their ineffectual response to the tragedy; disappointed in friends who turned their backs when things got tough; and completely without faith in God and in a future where life “will get better.” Matt clings to his girlfriend, Hayden, like a drowning man hanging onto a life preserver, even though their relationship is strained and quickly deteriorating towards a breakup. He tries to live one moment at time, grabbing ahold of whatever will keep his mind off of his pain, and lashing out when the guilt, anger, resentment, and pain is too much to bear.
Matt’s confrontational style damages everyone he comes into contact with, many of whom, he believes, deserve the harsh, unforgiving treatment he’s dishing out, himself most of all. His outspoken loss of faith has also come to the attention of his school administrators, since he’s been turning in essays and is now writing letters rebuking what he believes is the local Evangelical church’s attempts to ban books from the school library. Having destroyed just about every relationship in his life, Matt can hardly accept the few people who show him love, trust, and give him a glimpse at happiness. He’s making small steps towards that happiness, though, when a cataclysmic event leaves him in the place between life and death, where all he can do is let go and listen.
Rumble, Ellen Hopkins‘ latest verse novel, explores the dark hallways of grief, anger, and isolation as only she can. Matt’s gruff voice resounds with the deep-seeded ache of a young man wrestling with more than he’s ready to handle on his own. And yet, if he’s willing to look around, he could see that there is more than pain and loss, blame and anger, in the world. There may or may not be a God; but there is love, hope, and forgiveness, if he chooses to open up and accept them.
- Posted by Cori