Friday, October 15, 2010
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 begin with this. I was hesitant to read Fallout after having read both Crank and Glass because Kristina frustrated me so much in the last book. If you felt the same way, forget it and read Fallout regardless. This is not Kristina's story. This is the story of her children.
What I really loved was seeing how her choices not only impacted her life in the first two books, but her children's lives in this final one. After reading it, I feel as though, had Ellen Hopkins not written this final book, the series would have been incomplete, the message not as strong. Fallout was a shocking ending to the series that was well needed.
As with all of Ellen Hopkins' books, the verse was interesting, more interesting than in her other two books of the same series. Because the book is told in alternating viewpoints, Hunter, Summer, and Autumn all have different fonts which made the switching in point of views a lot easier to flow with.
I was very glad to discover that each of the children lived entirely different lives, and wouldn't have know they were all siblings if it hadn't been for knowing it before hand. If you haven't read the other books in the series, that's okay. Fallout is written in a matter so that, even if you haven't read the other books, it makes sense.
One thing that I did find confusing, though, was that, throughout the novel, there were random newspaper articles. Only a few related to the book. Perhaps this is something I need to reread in order to understand, but they struck me as odd and out of place.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Fallout. Unlike her other books, it was calmer, less filled with the dangers that lurk in Hopkins' other books, but I enjoyed it for that. The darkness was set in the background, in Kristina and how her decisions had forever changed her children's lives.
Last year, I was lucky enough to have Ellen Hopkins visit my school and do talks with several class periods. For planning the event, I attended lunch with Ellen Hopkins in which she talked about the truth behind Fallout and what was really going on with Kristina's children. Hearing her speak of these stories only made this book stronger.