Monday, October 4, 2010

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

Release Date: Available Now from Margaret K. McElderry

Source: Personal Collection (Kindle)


Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow’s five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.

Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she’s ever known crumbles, Autumn’s compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there’s more of Kristina in her than she’d like to believe. Summer doesn’t know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father’s girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother’s notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.

Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family’s story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person’s problem.

Let me start by saying that I am an Ellen Hopkins fan. I've read all of her books and I liked each and every one. That being said, this one just didn't do it for me. Here's the thing, it could be the format in which I read the book. In the past, I've always bought the hardcovers and I like how they are set up. The poems all have unique shapes that add to the reading and I usually buzz right through the books. Well, this time, because I'm obsessed with my Kindle, I bought the eBook version. It just wasn't the same. Some books should be experienced the old fashioned way and I think Hopkins' books fall into that category. I just couldn't get into the book. I finished it, but it took me a lot longer than it normally would have.

I thought the story was powerful, but it was almost too much for me. I found myself getting depressed reading about these people being depressed. I think Autumn and Summer were my favorite characters. I just kept reading along hoping they wouldn't take certain twists and turns. It's a bit like watching a car wreck, you just can't turn away.

I do think that Hopkins has captured the pain that drug addiction can cause to an entire family, but with this book, she also shows how that pain can reach out to even those who are acquainted with the family members. I have to say, though, I'm glad this is the final book about Kristina. I don't think I could take another one. I had to immediately move onto something cheerful: The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi. I felt like my brain needed a good cleansing.

Will I still read Ellen Hopkins even though I was disappointed in this latest book? Of course! I will eagerly purchase all of her future books.....I just won't read them on my Kindle. :)

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