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Smoke Hardcover – September 10, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her poetic sequel to Burned (2006), Hopkins pays homage to the old adage “The truth shall set you free.” In haunting memories, Pattyn and younger sister Jackie return to the horrifying scene of their father’s murder: Caleb’s rape of Jackie, their father’s discovery of the crime and his brutal beating of his violated daughter, and Pattyn’s gunpoint threat. Now Pattyn is on the run, disguised as a California migrant farm worker, while Jackie is a pariah in church, at school, and in her mother’s eyes. Hopkins’ riveting story line is full of the perpetual premonition of danger, and the simple free-verse format belies the complexity of both plot and craft. The poems are sparse, each word and phrase carefully chosen, each line and stanza designed to convey both girls’ desperation and resilience. Each sees herself as damaged and unlovable; each harbors guilt and hate for the father who physically beat her and the mother who emotionally betrayed her. Hopkins also tackles issues of immigration, homosexuality, bullying, Mormon extremism, and America’s shadowy antigovernment militia, making for a compelling and thought-provoking read. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hopkins is a number-one New York Times best-selling author, and her fan base is huge, huge, huge. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn


"A strong, painful and tender piece about wresting hope from the depths of despair." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Hopkins' riveting story line is full of the perpetual premonition of danger, and the simple free-verse format belies the complexity of both plot and craft...a compelling and thought-provoking read." (Booklist)

"The book is rife with real issues and demanding attention, leaving the reader to realize that when the smoke clears, redemption is always possible. In the end, voices are heard that refuse to be silenced and the empowerment that comes with the character’s decisions transcend the page and leave much to be discussed and contemplated among readers." (VOYA, starred review)

"Hopkins’s fans should and will clamor for this sequel." (School Library Journal)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416983287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416983286
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was adopted at birth and raised by a great, loving older couple. I grew up in Palm Springs CA, although we summered in Napa and Lake Tahoe, to avoid those 120 degree summers. After my adopted parents died, I did find my birth mother, who lives in Michigan with my half sister.

I studied journalism in college, but left school to marry, raise kids and start my own business--a video store, before the mega-chains were out there. After a divorce, I met my current husband and we moved to Tahoe to become ski bums and otherwise try to find our dreams. At that time, I went to work for a small alternative press, writing stories and eventually editing.

When we moved down the mountain to the Reno area, I started writing nonfiction books, many of which you can see here. The rest are viewable on my personal website. I also continued to freelance articles for newspapers and magazines.

All that has changed, with the publication of my novel, CRANK, which has led to a valued career writing YA novels in verse, all of which explore the more difficult situations young adults often find themselves in. Will I ever write one in prose? No doubt! But, for the moment, writing novels in verse fulfills two needs: writing poetry and writing fiction. The combination is so interesting!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By claudia swisher on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I went to bed last night with about 150 pages left...if you know me, you know I'd already peeked at the ending, so that was NOT the reason I got up an hour later to finish. I just had to see HOW Pattyn and her sister Jackie got to that ending.

BURNED leaves Pattyn sitting on an overpass with a loaded gun. Nothing to live for; nothing to lose.

This one opens with her on a bus, fleeing her home where she's just shot and killed her father. The story is told in her voice and Jackie's. Jackie's brutal beating at the hands of their horror of a father is what motivates his killing, and the girls try to find a new normal: Jackie having to see her rapist every day (that's what caused her beating. Their father blamed her for her own rape and would probably have beaten her to death if he hadn't been shot), watching her pretty worthless mother fall under the spell of her attacker's father, having to stay quiet about her own suffering, and dealing with the loss of her father and her sister.

Pattyn ends up in CA, living temporarily with a Mexican family, and finally getting a job on an isolated ranch. She begins to find connections, both with the people around her, and a beautiful wild mustang, Shoshone, who needs her gentleness.

Along the way Hopkins gives us plotlines about abuse, domestic terrorism, gay-rights issues. Her characters are finely drawn to be people with baggage. This is the appeal for an Ellen Hopkins book. Kids see their own struggles with huge issues in her characters.

As with the first book, I was discomfited by the subplots about the Mormon community. I had several Mormons read the first book, and they were able to see Hopkins is NOT attacking the entire religion, but she is shining a light on the hypocrisy of SOME leaders.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By whatisakelly on September 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I'll start my review with this: the ending of Burned scarred me for life. After reading and finishing the lengthy book, I was in desperate need for some answers and desperately hoping that there was a sequel so I will finally get some solid answers. Did Pattyn go through with it? Does everything happen exactly as planned? What happens next? Most of all, why was Ellen Hopkins torturing us with that open ending?! Several months ago, when I heard that Ellen Hopkins was going to write a sequel to Burned, words can not describe how happy I felt. Never in a million years would I think that I would get an ARC of Smoke to quench my curiosity, but alas, I did. Thank goodness Smoke gave me some closure and a sort-of happy ending for both Pattyn and Jackie.

For those of you who have never read an Ellen Hopkins book before because you thought that her books were just plain poetry, newsflash: you're wrong. The formatting of Ellen Hopkins' may look like poetry, but in reality, you can read her books like they are just any other book out there. The format is written in a poetry format to place emphasis on certain words and events Ellen Hopkins writes about on that page. If you actually try reading one of Ellen Hopkins' books, you'll know what I mean. In fact, I think that Ellen Hopkins' books are all easier to read than The Odyssey was.

Smoke was heartbreakingly beautiful - the book tugged on my heartstrings relentlessly. I was tearing up and crying throughout the book. I felt sorry for Jackie, sorry for Pattyn, and sorry for the awful situation they were both in. While I was reading Smoke, I couldn't help but tear up like crazy, which was not so good for me because I was reading it while I was riding on the subway on my way to school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NikiFOnline on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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