by Ellen Hopkins


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Pattyn’s father is dead. Now she’s on the run in this riveting companion to New York Times bestseller Burned, which Kirkus Reviews calls “a strong, painful, and tender piece about wresting hope from the depths of despair.”

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 fatal 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416983293
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 50,227
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.70(d)
Lexile: HL710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen young adult novels, as well as the adult novels Triangles, Collateral, and Love Lies Beneath. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Visit her at and on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @EllenHopkinsLit.

Read an Excerpt


  • You can’t take back, no

    matter how much you wish

    you could. No matter how

    hard you pray to


    all-powerful miracle maker.

    Some supposed God of Love.

    One you struggle to believe

    exists, because if he did,


    wouldn’t be so out of control,

    and you wouldn’t be sucked dry

    of love and left to be crushed

    like old brittle bones that


    easily ground into dust.

    Hindsight is useless

    when looking back over

    your shoulder at deeds


  • Reading Group Guide

    A Reading Group Guide to

    By Ellen Hopkins

    About the Book

    Blamed for her abusive father’s death and haunted by the loss of her boyfriend and their unborn child, Pattyn Von Stratten is on the run. Aboard a bus destined for California, she makes friends with Adriana, a young girl whose family helps her find work as a housekeeper for the Jorgensens, a wealthy ranch-owning family. Patty sets out to build a new life under a false identity, but she is overwhelmed by feelings of loss and guilt and questions her ability to build new relationships and establish a new existence. Back home, her younger sister is the sole person who knows what happened in the shed that day, but Jackie is haunted by troubles of her own. Her mother, for one, refuses to accept reality and the role Caleb played in the death of the girls’ father. Smoke, the much anticipated sequel to Burned, brings closure to one girl’s heart-wrenching journey.

    Prereading Questions

    1. Why is abuse (both physical and emotional) so prevalent in society?

    2. Discuss what you would do if you knew a loved one was in an abusive relationship.

    3. In your opinion, why do individuals stay in abusive relationships?

    4. What responsibility do we have when we know a loved one is in a dangerous relationship?

    Discussion Questions

    1. The story opens with Patty having run away from home and Jackie in the hospital. What event has occurred?

    2. Patty, bound for California, meets Adriana on a bus. Why does Adriana open her home to Patty and how does Patty prove to be useful to Adriana’s family?

    3. Angel, Adriana’s brother, helps Patty secure a job as a housekeeper for a ranch owner. Describe the family and Patty’s feelings about working for them.

    4. When Jackie returns home from the hospital, her mother begins making new plans for the family. How does their life change? Why does Jackie’s mother turn a deaf ear to Jackie’s story about Caleb? What reaction does Jackie have to her mother’s denial?

    5. How does Angel help Patty adjust to her new life? What does he know about Patty’s past and why does Patty give him limited information about why she is on the run? How does she feel about Angel not having the right facts?

    6. Religious convictions play an important role in the Von Stratten family’s responses. How does faith impact Ms. Von Stratten’s decisions and her responses toward her daughters? How does their religious upbringing impact the way Patty and Jackie respond to their lives? Support your answers with evidence from the text.

    7. Patty nurses Maria and her baby, Teresa, through the measles. Maria and her family are poor, yet “María lives in hope of the future, a more precious gift than she knows.” Why might Patty hold this belief? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

    8. As Patty becomes more acquainted with Adriana and Angel’s family, what does she learn about the life of migrant workers and the plight of undocumented workers in the United States? In what way does she feel connected to their plight?

    9. Patty is surprised to learn that Adriana knows she is on the run for murder but has never approached Patty about what happened. Adriana says, “[G]uilt—is more punishment for you than jail.” Do you agree or disagree? Would this be true for everyone? Explain.

    10. Patty believes that to embrace courage, two things are required: “unshakable faith that death is no more than a portal to some Shangri-la reunion. Or zero belief at all.” Is her argument accurate? Does she view herself as courageous? Does the author present her as a courageous character? What about Jackie? their mother? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.

    11. Jackie believes that truth is a product of perception. Explain what she means. Is her statement accurate? Why or why not?

    12. Mr. Jorgensen and others are surprised to learn that Pattyn can tame Shoshone. What previous experiences with horses does Pattyn have? How does working with Shoshone bring Pattyn peace?

    13. After returning home from the hospital, Jackie decides to focus on school and seeks out a tutor—Gavin. Is Gavin good for Jackie? Explain. How is he different from Caleb? What strengths does he have as a friend?

    14. Ms. Von Stratten invites Caleb and his father to a holiday dinner and Jackie is outraged. Why does Ms. Von Stratten invite them and how does Gavin come to Jackie’s aid?

    15. Patty goes Christmas shopping with Angel. In some ways, the holiday is satisfying, but in others it is not. What mixed feelings does she have?

    16. Why does Ms. Von Stratten send Jackie to clean out the shed? Is this decision a good one? Why or why not? How does Jackie respond to the task?

    17. Deirdre, the Jorgensens’ older daughter, is an angry and dangerous teen. What warning signs does Patty see and why doesn’t she share those with Deirdre’s family?

    18. Describe the scene in which Jackie speaks up against Caleb in church. Why does Jackie speak out? What does her action say about her character? Is her mother’s response expected?

    19. Who are Aunt J and Kevin and why does Pattyn go live with them in the end? What does the reader learn about their past? Is this arrangement in Pattyn’s best interest?

    20. As a sequel to Burned, how is Smoke a fitting title for this latest Hopkins novel?

    Questions/Activities for Further Discussion

    1. In addition to physical and emotional abuse, what other strong themes are apparent in Smoke? How do these themes evolve throughout the story?

    2. Ms. Von Stratten seems worried about image and perceptions. Find a scene that supports such a fear. In what way is her behavior damaging to her family? Is she likeable? How does she serve to advance the plot?

    3. Identify an especially compelling scene, rich with imagery, and discuss the language the author uses to make the scene effective.

    4. Patty and Jackie both develop new relationships over time. What do Angel and Gavin have in common? Keeping their personalities in mind, describe a short scene in which Angel meets Jackie for the first time and Gavin meets Patty, or describe a scene in which Angel and Gavin meet.

    5. Physical abuse is a central theme in Smoke. Using Hopkins’ suggested site,, as a starting point, gather five additional facts (not identified by Hopkins) from other websites or informational texts related to physical abuse. Share your points with a small group.

    Guide written in 2013 by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

    This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

    Customer Reviews

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    Smoke 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It's hard to pinpoint exactly how I feel about this book. Burned remains my absolute favorite book, so naturally I have been looking forward to this sequel for a long time. But  after reading this story, I don't think it needed to be told. Burned  is just too  perfect a story to try to match with asequel. A  few really good things about Smoke:  it lasts to test the cliffhanger at the end of Burned,  it develops Jackie a lot more,  and there are some heart  warming moments.  But,  there are way too many agendas represented here:  religion,  homosexuality,  abuse,  migrant workers...  Although cultural relevancy is great and definitely expected in all of Hopkins'  books,  in this story it felt unbelievably forced.  The story wraps up too perfectly at the end,  so it feels phony.  Bottom line:  for anyone who was attached to burned as I  am,  this is a must read.  afterall,  we were all dying to know what would happen to Pattyn.  but,  don't expect this story to hold a candle to the prequel because it won't. 
    onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
    My Thoughts: Burned was the first Ellen Hopkins book I read. It was quite an experience for me, completely new and tragic and wonderfully written. I was compelled, and it being written in verse had me completely sucked in and added to the emotions evoked. When I heard there would be a sequel, I was so excited and yet a little bit worried. If you have read Burned, you know what I'm talking about (if you haven't read Burned but are interested in it, please do not keep reading this review because there are somewhat spoilers). Unfortunately, my worries were justified. With the tragedy that happened at the end of the first book, I had a feeling I knew how this book would go, and I wasn't wrong. Maybe the story needed to be told, maybe not. Seeing what happened after was unnecessary. It did tie the story up instead of leaving you hanging. By the end I felt a lot better because there was redemption and resolution for some of it. You can't fix everything and that's why I do love Ellen Hopkins. She is explicit about the facts and the whys and not all things are perfect or can be fixed entirely. Smoke didn't completely live up to my expectations. I found myself irritated throughout the majority of the story. The religious views kill me, they really do. I like Burned by itself, and I would recommend that book up and down to anyone who wants a very serious novel to read. But when you do read Burned, it's a toss up as to whether I would tell you to read the sequel. If you really want to know what happens next, go for it. If you don't want to know, you're not missing much. My Rating: Pretty Good
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I am loving the book. Only thing is my nook will not load the journal pages. I have to skip them
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Smoke by Ellen Hopkins was enjoyable but I was expecting a better storyline based on the last book, Burned. Burned left off on a huge cliffhanger by killing off one of the main characters in the final pages of the book. The ending of the last book also was a reason why I wasn’t going to read Smoke because it’s really hard to continue with the same quality after you make a sudden, major twist in the story without futher explanation. I was heavily debating reading this book because I thought it would ruin the beautifully written story that is Burned, which still remains one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. The beginning of the book was going off on a good start but I feel like the author sort of gave up on the plot half-way into the book (about the same time when Pattyn became a maid) and was dragging it on another 200 pages. Her attempt at another romantic partner for Paytten after killing off Ethan wasn’t as good as I hoped, either. I did love the dramatic and intense scenes as they kept me really intrested in the book throughout the entirety, even if it didn’t match up with the vibe of the first book. Hopkins put you in a position where I actually felt the stress of certain situations, maybe even a little more than I should’ve. Smoke also went completely off the storyline the first book had. Although the author introduced more realistic and emotional scenes, like Pattyn’s little sister getting raped, Pattyn shooting her father, and delving into the messed up life of illegal immigrants, I still feel like it would’ve been more enjoyable to have the story continue with Pattyn’s family more involved. Pattyn is totally separated from her sisters so their story between them doesn’t continue until the end of the book, which in my opinion, could’ve made the story better if they had some type of connection. Overall, if you loved Burned, go ahead and read Smoke because even though it goes off the storyline, I felt like the dramatic events make up for it. -elina sutinen
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A follow up to what was left unfinished when Ellen Hopkins first started writing! This is a great story is a great follow up and if you wanted to know what happened to Payton, this is your chance. As always, I didn't want to put it down.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I'd recommend this book who is interested in getting into the mind of someone who has gone through a tramatic experience and does not no where to turn. It goes into great detail on what a teen does not say and does as a result of leaving a crime unresolved, letting the audience know it is important to speak up.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Ellen Hopkins is the best!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    When I finished burned, I was so heartbroken and I thought that I would never find out wjat happened to Jackie and Pattyn amd the Dad and EVERYONE but then I saw she made a sequel! I love Smoke so much its a great second addition to Burned
    Tana15 More than 1 year ago
    Please make this book available for nook for android. I have and love all of her other ones. Why can't I buy this one? I give this review one star because I can't buy the book. The book gets 5. I checked it out from the library .
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is an amazing book. So much thought into it. Makes you want to keep turning the pages one by one!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    What the hell cant read it
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is intense. It was a much needed follow up to Burned and it certainly didn't dissapoint! I highly recomend this book as well as Burned.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Why cant i read the journal pages?? Is this happening to everyone?
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Ellen Hopkins never disappoints. I love all of the books she has written and it is hard to say which ones are my favorites, but if I had to name which ones are my favorites, this one would be one of them. This book was the perfect closure to not only Pattyn's, but also Jackie's story. I felt all the emotions she put in this book and I felt like I was going through every single experience standing right there with the two main characters. This book is heartbreaking, but also joyful, with a happy ending. I hope to see more work from Ellen Hopkins, who is definitely my all time favorite author.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Nessa_231 More than 1 year ago
    Just got it yesterday and I am loving it so far. I feel so bad for Jackie and what happened to her in the first couple of pages and how a girl who's never felt actual love and tries to feel that with a boy her own age who ends up taking advantage of her which causes the events of Pattyn killing their father.  Every girl wants to feel real love but they just don't know where to find it and sometimes things get out of hands just like it did with Jackie.