Smoke by Eileen Hopkins Smoke
Ellen Hopkins

Margaret K. McElderry Books
September 10, 2013
560 pages
ISBN: 978-1416983286
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". . .a grim story with a lot of heart . . ."

Pattyn von Stratten is in hiding after the death of her father. By her hand or another, she doesn’t remember. After years of physical and mental abuse, she’s glad he’s dead, but his ghost lingers. He continues to torment her and her family. Her sister, Jackie, and her mother relive their own horrors. Pattyn has also lost her love, Ethan, and her unborn child. She must record her life for the sake of others. Someone must be held accountable for her loneliness and fear. She blames her father, her mother, her religion, and almost all who cross her path for her damaged psyche. She’s afraid to be alone and in anyone’s company. Her trust has been shattered. Battered and near broken, she finds work and a new life as a migrant worker in California. Slowly, with Angel’s help, she’s able to find the pieces and live as a whole person. Love flirts with her again, but can she survive another violent loss?

Smoke is the sequel to Burned. Both books are written in free verse. There is a poetry and urgency to Pattyn’s thoughts and reflection. She searches for answers, trying to make sense of her hellish life. This is a grim story with a lot of heart and redemption. Hopkins dedicates this book to victims of abuse. She doesn’t hide the pain. She pushes her characters through the fire to make them stronger. They survive, armed and ready to face their past with honesty and their future with hope.

Reviewer: K. T. Sullivan