Smoke - YA Review by Lian S.

Reader: Lian S.
Age: 17
Title: Smoke
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pub Date: 09/10/13
Galley: No
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: To me, most Ellen Hopkins books are comparable to a tragic Greek hero: they are brilliant with a single fatal flaw. Smoke was no different. The writing was compelling and I had a hard time putting the book down. The two protagonists felt like real people to me. However, I got stuck on a single repeating theme: both troubled girls needed a male hero to sweep in and heal them. The two males, Angel and Gavin, felt like the same person to me. Their characters were different, certainly, but both were deeply in love with the girl they desired, and both were uncannily kind. I dislike this theme because it gives the impression that a girl can't pull herself back together through her own strength, or by leaning on a friend -- no, she needs to fall in love with a man. That said, the poetic writing truly swept me away.
Memorable or Forgettable: Some of Ellen Hopkins' books blur together in my mind, but Smoke stuck out. That was partially due to the fatal flaw mentioned above, but partly because of how deeply I connected with the two protagonists, particularly Pattyn. Her voice was very strong. I felt like I knew her.
Cover: Burned had the kind of cover, I would stare at when I wasn't allowed to read. It was, simply put, beautiful-- almost as gorgeous as Hopkins' words.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation:  In a simultaneously heartwarming and chilling story of recovery, Hopkins uses words to create a work of art.

tags: poetry / realistic fiction / contemporary / sociology / abuse / ya lit

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