Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

7171876Hopkins, Ellen. Fallout. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010. 665 pgs. Library copy.

The final book in Hopkin’s trilogy switches from Kristina’s point of view to that of her three oldest children — Hunter, Autumn, and Summer. The oldest, Hunter, lives with Kristina’s parents while Autumn lives with her paternal grandfather and Summer moves from foster care to living with her father to back to foster care. Kristina’s youngest two children, David and Donald, live with her and their abusive father, Ron. All of her children have a high risk of addiction so their stories are mostly about the legacy of addiction and broken homes their mother has left them.

I spent most of this book angry at Kristina’s mother, Marie, for adopting her eldest grandchild and leaving the others to the wolves. Those of you familiar with the series will know that the series is a fictionalized version of Hopkins’ own life — Kristina is her daughter Cristal, Hunter is her (grand)son Orion, while Autumn and Summer are her grandchildren Jade and Heaven.

I struggled with this knowledge; I wanted to judge Hopkins as a person for the decisions her fictionalized self makes. Hopkins does state at the end of the novel that the Hunter in her life is thirteen not nineteen like the character in the book so this a more fictional tale than the previous two books. With this in mind, I am trying to shift my anger at Marie’s decision from the author to the character. (There are also probably legal reasons as to why Marie/Hopkins would only be able to adopt one child not explained in the book.)

Even so, I thought this was the absolute perfect ending to the series. To continue following Kristina would, I believe, turn very cyclical; the only change would be the addition of another guy and another baby. I loved how Hopkins shows the devastating effects of addiction for more than just the user, an issue missing from her previous two novels. Hopkins still manages to maintain the emotionally raw and painfully realistic aspects of her previous books despite the shifts in narration. I continue to be impressed.

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