Book Inspired Poetry [2]: Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

Smoke [Burned, #2] by Ellen Hopkins
Publication Date: September 10th, 2013
Margaret K. McElderry
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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?

Choking on emotions
on my way to work,

gutted and raw over a

Two girls –
victims of violence
and circumstance.
Courageous and fearful
of what lies ahead.

Some say truth shall set you free
they’d beg to differ,

vehemently disagree.
The truth they know
will become their prisons
cages of public scrutiny and damnation.

The religion they know
harbours liars –
instilling false hope
in exchange for silence.

But how long

can they hide behind
their veils?
Scorn from a society
with which they were failed.

In the end it’s one or the other
facing consequences
of a lie to protect one another.


I read this book a while back and couldn’t help but write a poem about it. That’s just the kind of influence Hopkins have. You’re either rendered speechless or you’ll find yourself writing poems about her book. And while mine is not in the same class as her writing, I’m pretty proud and glad of what Ms. Hopkins was able to incite. Truth be told, I was on a writing slump before I read Burned and I think that’s why I’m doubly appreciative of her writing.

Five stars said everything I felt about this book. Trust me, my poem and words were paltry compared to the swirl of feelings inside me. She left me feeling raw, like I just have been through an emotional upheaval.

These two books were the only ones of Ms. Hopkins’ works that I’ve read so far and I’m a little awestruck by how real and honest they were. If this series is to continue on, I’d be grateful. But if Hopkins decides this is it, then I’ll be happy too. Truth is, I’m satisfied with how their lives turn out; I’m not going to question all the seemingly impossible scenarios and convenience of how it ended. Regardless, I’m content and happy and there’s not a thing in the world that could make the story better.