Review: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

CrankSource: Purchased
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: Crank #1
Edition: Paperback, 537 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Prose
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 3.5/5

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

Crank is a fast paced, cautionary and sad tale of a high school girl named Kristina who becomes addicted to crystal meth. It takes us through the highs and lows of her addiction, but of course there are more books to this series and sadly it seems the ‘monster’ isn’t quite through with her.

This is a tough book, and it’s hard to say that I “enjoyed” it because it’s kind of sad to read about someone being so willing to toss their life away over a choice that she didn’t think through. I can say that I barely put it down and I read it within 24 hours of buying it, because despite knowing there are more books in the series I was really hoping that she’d come to some sort of realization and turn her life around. This is written in poetic form and if you’re familier with this style of writing then you know that the words read like a normal book but it’s the form of the words that helps emphasize feelings, pace, and weight. I can’t say this is my favorite style but I really enjoy the artistic license it takes with a story that in most cases would be entirely too hard to digest. It helps show her downward spiral and the way her thoughts play out. Not to mention it makes for an incredibly quick read.

I can’t say I liked Kristina (Bree) before or after the meth, and though I’m hesitant to say it because it’s based off of the author’s daughter, I really really disliked her. Before everything she’s okay but I found her to be rather naive and while that’s certainly realistic it’s incredibly frustrating to read about a girl who is so willing to go along with something terrible because of loneliness and acceptance.  I get that family issues, teen angst/anger, and the need for a place can get to a person and make them do things they might not normally do…but meth is a ‘permanent’ solution to a temporary problem. It’s disheartening to see that choice made. After the spiral begins I flat out hated her, she became an exaggeration of the person she once was. Pushing those who actually care away in favor of idiotic people who had made the same choices as her.

Even though I wasn’t fond of the main character I really appreciated the book for what it was and the story it tells. Kristina faces a lot of choices,  none of which are easy, and she doesn’t always make the best decision. It’s a heavy book but I definitely see it as worth the time to check it out.

3.5 stars

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2 Responses to Review: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this because I haven’t read anything in verse before, but now I’m kind of hesitant because we usually like/dislike the same things often. Does it still use dialogue tags like he said she said? My cousin has it so I might borrow it sometime. Great review!

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