**WARNING. THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. PLEASE READ BURNED OR MY REVIEW OF IT BEFORE PROCEEDING TO READ SMOKE’S REVIEW HERE.**
On the run, alone, and haunted by her ghosts. Pattyn Von Stratten is desperately trying to hide from everything that has happened to her. The deaths of Ethan, their baby, and (now) her father. She hops on a bus and ends up in Vacaville, CA where she meets a Hispanic girl named Adrianna and her family. After protecting Adrianna from a robbery and an – almost – rape, she is invited back to her home to stay. After a few weeks, Adrianna’s brother, Angel, comes home from the farm that he works at and it is decided that Pattyn (or Patty, as she’s going by now) will go with him to work as a maid for the family who lives on the farm. The family is relatively normal, except for the fact that the teenage daughter has some deep seeded anger issues, hangs out with two destructive guys who are not afraid to kill, and who could blow up at any moment. Despite this (small?) danger, Pattyn finds acceptance and even new love with Angel, if only she could get past the secrets so built up inside her.
As for Jackie, Pattyn’s once upon a time best friend and closest sister, her secrets are eating up at her as well. The night their father died, he had walked in on Jackie being raped by one of the boys from their church. He didn’t believe it when she told him what happened and he began to abuse her. Hitting her, kicking her, telling her she was ruined and that she deserved what she got. Pattyn walked in with her gun and after an altercation, their father ended up dead. Although Jackie wants desperately to relieve herself of this terrible secret inside her, she’s forced to keep quiet. By the bishop at the church, by her rapist’s father, and even by her own mother. She has no friends and no Pattyn, no one to turn to, until she meets Gavin. He’s a senior – and her math tutor – and he sees the beauty and honesty she carries inside her. He gives her the love she’s been needing, but she’s sure that once all of her secrets come out, he’ll be on his way out the door.
SMOKE was phenomenal. I was a little worried because sequels aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be; but as always, Ellen Hopkins did not disappoint. This time around, she let us in, not only on Pattyn’s side of things, but on Jackie’s as well. With both girls speaking, you get the full picture of what’s happening in their lives. There’s a lot of turmoil within this novel, but the ending message is of hope. Not only that, but it gives a full and rounded story, which works so well coupled with the prequel – BURNED.
Overall (and as always) a superb read from Ellen Hopkins. Everyone needs to check out this book whether you enjoyed BURNED or not, it’s fantastic. 🙂 Look out for my next review!