Review: Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

This is the third and final book in the Crank series that started off following Kristina’s downward spiral with the monster, but now we see Kristina’s three oldest children’s stories. I think Fallout may be my favorite book in the series because it shows the effects of addiction on the family, specifically the children, and how far reaching those effects are.

Fallout is told from three perspectives, Hunter, Autumn, and Summer, and while in the past I’ve found the multiple POV’s in Ellen’s books to be confusing, in Fallout, this was not the case. The characters were vastly different despite being related, and each had their own problems and living situations, and even though I think it’s a little difficult to distinguish different voices through the format of Hopkins’ books, in Fallout, each of the characters stood out to me and I could easily recognize their different voices. I think this might be because of how I’ve followed the series and some of the characters before this book, whereas in some of Ellen’s other books it was the first in a series or a standalone.

Hunter is Kristina’s oldest son and if you’ve read the previous books, you’ve already met his character. Hunter is now 19 and still lives with Kristina’s mom, but he doesn’t consider Kristina his mother and is the only child of hers who is most outright about criticizing her and caller her on her BS. I think Hunter may be the most stable character, having been raised in a stable home that sheltered him from most of Kristina’s crap. Most of his troubles involved his girlfriend and his tendency to cheat. While I felt closer to Hunter’s character, I think he was the least interesting of the three.

Autumn lives with her grandfather (on her dad’s side) and her aunt. She is probably the least stable, living with OCD and panic attacks, and despite being very smart, makes some very dumb decisions without fully considering the consequences or reality of those decisions. Spoiler: She freaking gets pregnant on purpose so that she has someone who will love her. This made me so angry! She hasn’t yet met Kristina and has no communication with her father, Trey, who’s been in prison the last ten years. She was the most infuriating character, but it’s clear that many of her issues are effects of Kristina and Trey’s choices.

Summer has the worst living situation, having been in and out of foster care. Kristina is in and out of her life, and it’s obvious how little respect Summer has for Kristina and her choices. She ends up living with her Dad and his girlfriend for a while, but she’s never really in a safe home. Her story mostly follows her relationship with her boyfriend. She was probably my favorite character. 

Overall, this book is gripping and emotional. Fallout gives insight to the horrors of addiction and how when someone becomes addicted something like the monster, it’s not only their life they’re screwing up. It’s the parents’ lives, their children’s lives, and it even reaches their friends and distant relatives. It’s like a weed, wrapping around everyone and everything. I’d definitely recommend Fallout to anyone who’s a fan of realistic issues in fiction and have experienced, in any way, the effects of addiction.

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