People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

Hey everyone, it’s Sarah!

I started hearing about this novel at Rochester’s Teen Book Fest. I was hesitant to read it because I am not a fan of Ellen Hopkins. While she writes about stories that interest me, I never connect with the characters or I am never happy with the story. I decided to give this book a try because I wanted to compare it to Deb Caletti’s recent book. I received an eARC of this through Edelweiss.


This novel focuses on several characters all impacted by gun usage. The main perspective is a gun. These six seemingly random characters will a be brought together throughout this story. By the end a gun will go off and everything will change.

Rand and Cami are having difficulty with their marriage. They got pregnant young and find that perhaps they are growing apart. Cami supplements the family’s income by selling drugs on the side, all without Rand’s knowledge. He is frustrated with his current job, is quick to jealousy, and is desperate to be a great father and become a cop.

Daniel and Grace have recently started dating. He is homeless and plans on spending the weekend with her, while her parents are out of town. While she loves him, the baggage he carries from his past and his possessiveness are making it difficult for her to be around him.

Silas is a white supremacist, whose parents are marrying outside of their race. He can’t stand them. Silas will be attending an upcoming protest rally, to support his Neo-Nazi ideals.

Noelle was in a tragic car accident when she was young. As a result, she developed epilepsy. Her life dreams went up in smoke and now she is in a weird waiting game to see what she should do next.

Hopkins uses her traditional verse format with a narrative style.


I felt that I never connected with these characters and certainly never liked any of them. It was difficult to read this book on my computer with other people around because of the extensive use of hateful words. I get that these characters do not represent the author, but this book resided in this intense environment of hate that was difficult to get through. I can handle emotionally tough books, but the violence and hate in this book felt gratuitous. There didn’t seem to be an outlet or a point. I get that it exists in the world. However, if you are going to further create these hateful spaces, it needs to done in a way that will further the gun violence instead of living in where we are.



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