I read Crank by Ellen Hopkins on a recommendation from my good friend Staci over at Life in the Thumb. I really wasn’t sure that this type of novel told in verse form was anything I would like since normally it’s not my thing. So, imagine my surprise when I started reading it and found myself sucked into the story to the point where I could not put this book down. I didn’t think an author could get a point across in verse as well as in a full length novel but in the case of Ellen Hopkins I was wrong. She can say more in a few words than some can say in pages. This novel reminded me quite a bit of Go Ask Alice which is a novel I read many, many years ago that still remains vivid in my memory.
Kristina seems to be a teenager with everything going for her – friends, good grades and never in trouble. Then on a fateful trip to see her father who really hasn’t had a part in her life for a long time, she is introduced to a life better left alone. Her father is a druggie, an absentee father and generally not someone you would want your kid spending time with. While there she is introduced to the ‘monster’ (crank – crystal meth). From this point on things are never the same for Kristina who further develops an alter ego, Bree, to handle her new life.
It is extremely disturbing to see just how fast this drug controls a life and destroys it. This drug is highly addictive and it’s said that from the first time you try it, you crave it. Such was definitely the case for Kristina. She entered a life where the number one priority was finding money and a way to get her next fix. As Kristina she is conflicted but as Bree she’s as a free as a bird to do what she wants. Bree is much more adventurous and daring than Kristina ever could be.
Kristina’s life is never the same. She risks her health, her family and her sanity – the drug makes her fearless. At one point she ends up raped by her drug dealer and becomes pregnant. She chooses to keep the child which is one issue I had. My other issue was why she was allowed to go visit her father in the first place. I don’t believe it ever said if he had the right to see his children or not but I would have moved mountains to ensure my kids didn’t get near him. You have to wonder though with a drug addict as a father if she wasn’t already genetically predisposed and may have headed down this path anyhow.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins is an intense and intricately woven story of the damage that drugs can do an individual and those around them. It shows us how the drug takes everything away – everything that was once important – your family, your future; and biggest of all, yourself. This novel is very powerful and while I finished reading it a while ago it is still very clear in my mind – that is the power of words. What gives it even more impact for me is that the author loosely based this story on her own daughter. If you’ve not read this series – there is Crank, Glass, and Fallout – you should. I think it’s an important story for both teens and their parents to read although it is quite graphic so I’d suggest a parent reading it first. I loved the book and moved quickly on to the next one, Glass, which I’ll review tomorrow.
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My copy of Crank by Ellen Hopkins was purchased by yours truly.