Author: Ellen Hopkins
Published: September 10th 2013
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
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Caution: WILL contain some spoilers from the first book
Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?
Burned was the first Ellen Hopkins book I read. It was quite an experience for me, completely new and tragic and wonderfully written. I was compelled, and it being written in verse had me completely sucked in and added to the emotions evoked. When I heard there would be a sequel, I was so excited and yet a little bit worried. If you have read Burned, you know what I'm talking about (if you haven't read Burned but are interested in it, please do not keep reading this review because there are somewhat spoilers). Unfortunately, my worries were justified.
With the tragedy that happened at the end of the first book, I had a feeling I knew how this book would go, and I wasn't wrong. Maybe the story needed to be told, maybe not. Seeing what happened after was unnecessary. It did tie the story up instead of leaving you hanging. By the end I felt a lot better because there was redemption and resolution for some of it. You can't fix everything and that's why I do love Ellen Hopkins. She is explicit about the facts and the whys and not all things are perfect or can be fixed entirely.
Smoke didn't completely live up to my expectations. I found myself irritated throughout the majority of the story. The religious views kill me, they really do. I like Burned by itself, and I would recommend that book up and down to anyone who wants a very serious novel to read. But when you do read Burned, it's a toss up as to whether I would tell you to read the sequel. If you really want to know what happens next, go for it. If you don't want to know, you're not missing much.