Crank (by Ellen Hopkins)

6 07 2011

Crank is the story of 16-year-old Kristina/Bree who’s forced to spend some time with her father during the summer. There she meets Adam or ‘Buddy’ who introduces her to crank. From then on she’s on a rollercoaster downward spiral that changes her personality (good girl Kristina’s loses herself in her alter ego ‘Bree’ all too quickly and all too often), has an impact on her relationships with her (former) friends and family, and forces the reader to contemplate the effects one bad decision can have on your life.

Though this is a 500+ page novel, it is sure to suck you in from the introduction. This is mainly due to two things. Firstly you realize that the story here is not just a hollow message as Ellen Hopkins experienced the consequence a drug addiction can have firsthand: the story in Crank is based on her own daughter. This in itself is a gripping fact. Secondly, this is a novel in verse, and though this too may be intimidating at first, the poetry itself is never hard to read, is very visual (Hopkins has definitely tried to make sure there’s some added poetic value in the visualization of her words ) and helps you get through the story sooner than you can say ‘drug addiction’!

Crank is definitely a novel with a message – Hopkins even says as much in her Author’s Note: “If this story speaks to you, I have accomplished what I set out to do. Crank is, indeed, a monster – one that is tough to leave behind once you invite it into your life. Think twice. Then think again.” As such, writing this novel must have been a cathartic experience for Hopkins, one which she hopes to transmit onto the reader. Whether she has succeeded in this, the cat will leave up to each individual reader. The cat will say this, however:  For readers of YA-fiction dealing with drug addiction, the comparison to both Go Ask Alice and Melvin Burgess’ Junk, is obvious. Both these novels have been decade-defining in many middle school libraries and the cat admits to using both of these in literature circles in her classes too, and Crank could have the same effect on parents, teachers and librarians. Being semi-biographical and having the added layer of being a novel in verse, this book has everything to be a school library and classroom favorite.



One response

24 07 2012
Beach Reads « Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] S.T. (Silent Treatment) by  the other teen patients who deal with more explicable issues like drugs or food disorders. When the book first came out in 2000, it was definitely one of the first books […]

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