Series: Burned

Audiobook Review – Smoke (Burned #2) by Ellen Hopkins

October 4, 2013 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 1 Comment

I received this book free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review – Smoke (Burned #2) by Ellen HopkinsSmoke by Ellen Hopkins
Narrator: Candace Thaxton, January LaVoy
Series: Burned #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on September 10th 2013
Length: 8 hours and 13 minutes
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction, Verse
Format: Audiobook
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Crank, Burned

two-half-stars

Pattyn’s father is dead. Now she’s on the run in this riveting companion to the New York Times bestselling Burned.

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 as a migrant worker on a California ranch. 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?
Bestselling author Ellen Hopkins continues the riveting story of Pattyn Von Stratten she began in Burned to explore what it takes to rise from the ashes, put ghosts to rest, and step into a future.

 

Burned series

Burned (Burned, #1)
Burned (Burned #1) {Review}

‘How many people live unafraid? To truly embrace courage, I think, requires one of two things–unshakable faith that death is no more than a portal to some Shangri-la reunion. Or zero belief at all.’

Smoke is the highly anticipated follow-up to the 2006 release, Burned. It’s a dual-narrative story told from the point of view of Pattyn who is currently on the run after her father is shot and killed and of Jackie, Pattyn’s sister, who has remained behind and is suffering through the aftermath.

While Burned did admittedly leave off with a major cliffhanger of an ending, I can’t help but think it would have been better off left as is. Smoke’s plot felt stretched and thin and unnecessary story lines were added that detracted from the heart of the story. There was the radical militia movement, the slaughter of wild mustangs, the mistreatment of migrant workers and while these are all important topics I felt that not only was there too much going on but it never felt like it fit with the main story which centers around the Mormon community the family is a part of. I think the bigger issue with Smoke though is the absence of Ellen’s signature writing style. Yes, this is written in verse and yes her prose is beautiful… but only in certain sections. It wasn’t consistent and read far too much like a typical novel for my liking.

In addition, the wrap-up was far too flawless. Too picture perfect. And storylines were left unresolved, like the lack of resolution of Pattyn’s previous life she had while on the run. Burned is one of my favorite by Hopkins and while Smoke didn’t live up to that, it did give us a resolution (whether it was ultimately necessary is definitely debatable).

Smoke is a story of survival, of learning to cope following the aftermath of abuse and starting anew.

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Book Review – Burned (Burned #1) by Ellen Hopkins

December 21, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 3 Comments

Book Review – Burned (Burned #1) by Ellen HopkinsBurned by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Burned #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 1st 2006
Pages: 531
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction, Verse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Crank, Fallout

four-stars

I do know things really began to spin out of control after my first sex dream.

It all started with a dream. Nothing exceptional, just a typical fantasy about a boy, the kind of dream that most teen girls experience. But Pattyn Von Stratten is not like most teen girls. Raised in a religious -- yet abusive -- family, a simple dream may not be exactly a sin, but it could be the first step toward hell and eternal damnation.

This dream is a first step for Pattyn. But is it to hell or to a better life? For the first time Pattyn starts asking questions. Questions seemingly without answers -- about God, a woman's role, sex, love -- mostly love. What is it? Where is it? Will she ever experience it? Is she deserving of it?

It's with a real boy that Pattyn gets into real trouble. After Pattyn's father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control until Pattyn ends up suspended from school and sent to live with an aunt she doesn't know.

Pattyn is supposed to find salvation and redemption during her exile to the wilds of rural Nevada. Yet what she finds instead is love and acceptance. And for the first time she feels worthy of both -- until she realizes her old demons will not let her go. Pattyn begins down a path that will lead her to a hell -- a hell that may not be the one she learned about in sacrament meetings, but it is hell all the same.

In this riveting and masterful novel told in verse, Ellen Hopkins takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride. From the highs of true love to the lows of abuse, Pattyn's story will have readers engrossed until the very last word.

He was a dream. A safe dream.
Safe, because he was unattainable,
something to adore from afar.
Like a snow-drenched mountain
or an evening star.

The Storyline
17-year old Pattyn Von Stratten is the oldest child in a Mormon family which consists of an alcoholic and abusive father and an extremely overwhelmed mother. Unconsciously, she starts to rebel little by little from her strict family’s rules. After her father catches her in a moment of rebellion she is inevitably sent to live with her Aunt in rural Nevada. Pattyn begins to realize that life with her Aunt may not be as bad as she had originally thought and that going back to her old life may be harder than she thought.

Thoughts
This was the second Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read, and even though this was not as enjoyable as Triangles, I did still enjoy it. It was damn near impossible not to feel bad for Pattyn and her ‘moments of rebellion’ which wasn’t even anything that bad… her family just put her on such a short leash that any form of rebellion was conceived as horrible and wrong.

I can’t help but feel that these types of family situations only make things worse on these children in the long run. Placing so many rules and responsibilities on them at such a young age usually leads to crazy acts of rebellion. Of course this is not always the case and many kids that live in strict households end up turning perfectly decent members of society. When I was in high school I used to have two really good friends who were both Mormons from large families (with enormous responsibilities) who ended up having a huge impact on how I view families such as these.

I finished this book with my jaw on the ground; it was an extremely abrupt and unexpected ending. I went into this thinking that it was a stand-alone novel but come to find out there’s more to come in this series… I’m extremely interested in seeing how the author takes this story.

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