Ellen Hopkins does it again, delivering another fiery book with a twisted story line and depressing end. I won’t give too much away but if you know Ellen Hopkins at all, you already expect each of these items when picking up her novels. For those who do not know, Smoke is the sequel to Burned, a book about a young mormon girl who begins to question some aspects of life and faith. So, if you haven’t read Burned, just go ahead and stop here. Don’t ruin it for yourself! If you have, let us continue.
Smoke is the continuation of Pattyn’s story almost immediately after the death of her father. Now Pattyn is on the run. With an alternating story line between Pattyn and her sister, secrets begin to unfold and the Von Stratten family must now face the skeletons in their closet.
Overall, I found Smoke to be another great Ellen Hopkins novel. I really enjoy her writing style, especially the poetic aspect. In the beginning, I did find the book to be slightly slow. I could tell that Hopkins was building up to a large reveal and I began to get antsy. I wanted to know already! However, the build up is necessary so if you are like me, stick in there. Hopkins never lets her readers down. While I will admit that I preferred Burned over Smoke (sequels are never quite as good, are they?), I still found the novel to be wonderful. As always, Hopkins not only told a story but taught a lesson. You don’t catch on right away but when you do, it hit you like a brick. And it’s beautiful. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. It was nice to resist the Von Stratten family and escape once again into their eventful and escalating lives.
Common Sense Media Rating: 14+ yrs
Flags: drinking and drug use, cursing, sexual and physical violence/abuse