Teen Book Festival +Ellen Hopkins+


Ellen Hopkins is sort of a rock star in YA Lit, and has been for about 5 years now.  In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, she writes realistic fiction in verse about major issues.  Her first novel, Crank, chronicles her real daughter’s struggle with crystal meth addiction.  Ellen’s books are devoured by readers and non-readers alike.  She’s managed to stay completely grounded, and shared all sorts of things about her life, including what’s happening in her daughter’s life today.

  • Ellen’s parents, who adopted her, were older.  They were Republican, but Robert Kennedy really defined Ellen’s politics.
  • Ellen once saw Elvis in his underwear.  She was helping her brother fundraise for Boy Scouts and Elvis answered the door in his skivvies.  He also bought everything they were selling.
  • Ms. Hopkins was first published at age 9 (a poem).
  • Until 3 years ago, she made most of her money as a freelance writer.  She also really enjoys writing middle-grade non-fiction.
  • Ellen related that her characters sometimes wake her up in the middle of the night.
  • When her daughter “Kristina” started getting into trouble after a court-ordered visit to her biological father, Ellen did not expect meth.  She expected marijuana or alcohol, not the substance that would rule her family’s lives for the next 6 years.
  • “Kristina” is now 32, has 6 children (only 3 of whom live with her), and struggles with irreparable brain damage from her meth use.
  • Ellen’s upcoming releases include Triangles, an adult novel, Tilt, her 2012 YA offering, and Smoked, the 2013 sequel to Burned.

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