Smoke by Ellen Hopkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Yeah, no, this did not do it for me.
If you read Hopkins' own comments on the book, it sounds like it was never intended to be written. Burned, one of her best books in my opinion, was wrapped up very cleanly and there was little to do with the characters afterwards.
What she does to drag out their stories is work under the failed assumption that falling in love (again) will fix everything - because of course love is always the cure!
After the events of the last book, Pattyn is on the run, and meanwhile, her next oldest sister Jackie is dealing with the aftermath of family and homelife.
Pattyn's story follows her to California where she stars a new life. Half of her narration is very drawn out flashbacks to Ethan. The other half are mixed between her raising horses (really? when did I sign up for a Western?) and her becoming close to a family including Adriana, the first person on the road to help her, and her brother Angel, who gets Pattyn work and keeps her afloat. I like seeing Pattyn's development while being a fugitive, but (view spoiler)[come on, the ENTIRE point of the first book was her undying love for Ethan. I was more than a little miffed that she found a new boy toy in this book, as good of a person as Angel was (hide spoiler)]
Jackie's story bored and frustrated me even more. The part about recovering from everything her parents did was the saving grace of this book for me, because her mother is legitimately messed up. But the primary part of Jackie's story is coping with rape, (view spoiler)[and this is not, I repeat NOT something that can be solved with a new boyfriend. Hopkin's handled it delicately. I mean, she didn't have Jackie go have sex with someone else and be magically cured (hide spoiler)] But her entire story became about oh-so-perfect Gavin saving her from her trauma. Gavin was an entirely boring character and I would have much rather seen Jackie cope with things on her own.
"Sequel That Never Should Have Happened" is the perfect summary for this one. Even the poetry aspect fell flat. I'm sad to see Pattyn go out on such a bland note.
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