Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I will confess that I have never read any if Ellen’s books. This book was given to me by her publisher. Smoke is the second book following the first titled, Burned. Before the book came to me, I discussed this author with some library friends of mine. They gave her a flying color recommendation! I really didn’t know what to expect, only that my friend had told me that her writing looks as if it’s in poetry format, but reads just like flowing story, which intrigued me. She also told me that she loved Ellen’s books so much, that she would have to hide the book so she could get other things done, or she would just sit and read the whole thing! Now that I have read the book myself, here is my review.

The cover is very intriguing, I have since looked up her other books after I finished this one and they are great as well. Smoke if full of tragic, loss, love and learning how to rise from the ashes. Her writing flowed well and I felt as though I was standing with the characters through their lives. This story follows the lives of two sisters, Pattyn and Jackie Von Stratten. The story is told in in the alternating voices of the sisters; Pattyn is on the run from the community and the law and still dealing with the death of her beloved Ethan and their child, and the abuse she suffered at the hands of their father. Meanwhile, Jackie is home and having to deal not only with the aftermath of the shooting, but also with trying to pick up the pieces of her life and figuring out what is left for her after everything that has happened. Can either sister find their peace, or their voice, in the paths that they’re forging? Or will everything crumble to ashes and smoke?

Smoke is not to be taken lightly, and has a lot of trigger points for victims of abuse (both physical and sexual). Told in verse style, the voices of Pattyn and Jackie strike through to the core of readers and never let go, and readers will be flipping the pages to find out what happens. Finding hope and their voices is a central point within the story, and it gives hope to those looking for a way out of the darkness. As being the first book of Ellen’s I’ve ever read, I was blown away by how she does not ‘sugar coat’ the realities that some teens are facing in the world today.

This was a very powerful, eye opening book. Young adult readers will not be disappointed as well as readers my age, which is 24, will also find the subject matter to be informative and mindblowing. Who knew you could learn so much about real life crises that affect the lives of more people than you think, through the eyes of a fictional character, written by an author who thrives to help those in need.

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