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.

The Phoenix’s Perspective

As a kid, you are taught that poetry is an art form people use when trying to express strong emotions. Ellen Hopkins shows us all that strong emotions are always around us waiting to be expressed. Her words bring this story to life — so much that I am not even sure the story could have been the same if told in regular prose.

If you have read Crank and Glass, you have followed Kristina on her journey into the arms of the monster and the constant failing fight to get away from it. Hopkins leaves nothing out as we follow Kristina (or Bree as she wants to be called) into some very compromising and dangerous situations. The monster is lurking at every turn waiting to wreak even more havoc and create even more irreparable damage.

Unlike most, Hopkins wants us to understand that the monster doesn’t just stop there. Once it takes hold, it wants to reach out and touch every part of your life – every person in your world. In Fallout, Hopkins shows us what the monster has done to those who haven’t even tasted it yet.  I guess you would call it damaged by association – Kristina’s children have had to survive a life full of after-effects without ever having been there for the actual high.

Hunter is full of anger that seems to have no clear-cut origin. Autumn is constantly on the look for someone’s love — someone to validate that she is worthy. Summer is alone and hurt – not knowing that she has any siblings who could protect her from the abuse she has been through.  The one thing they have in common is Kristina – the thin string pulling them each further and further into the dark.  Each hopes that confronting their past will help make the future clearer.  Unfortunately, it is not always possible to see a rainbow in the darkness of a tornado.

Would I add it to the library?

I have always seen books that show the damage drugs can do to one’s life, but I find that good ones that truly express how far that damage can reach are hard to find.


Genre: Fiction – emotional problems, substance abuse, families at risk, novels in verse
ISBN: 9781442471801
Rating:  good 

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