How many of you read Go Ask Alice when you were younger? Well, Crank by Ellen Hopkins is sort of like Go Ask Alice, only 1000x better. Upon finishing Crank, I did not think drugs were cool, whereas when I finished Go Ask Alice I was able to see the appeal of whatever that girl was on. In Crank, the drugs are legit scary and the results more tangible and immediate.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins opens with Kristina Snow going to visit her ne’er do well father in Arizona. Her dad is the deadbeat of all deadbeats, I mean he does drugs at the bowling alley he works at. Of course, there is this boy that Kristina meets who walks on the wild side. Kristina unleashes her inner bad girl, Bree, because she so desperately wants to attract Adam. Enter the monster, aka, CRANK! For Kristina, crank is awesome at first. She gets all this energy. She gets cleaning done. She finds courage to flirt. Then she crashes AND burns. With the rest of the book, we see her basically implode from the effects of drugs on her life.
I won’t lie, I am not very huge on issue books. I’m not a person who deals with issues outside of my job. Like, my parents are still married, I don’t have friends who do drugs, I’ve never been preggo. So it is hard for me to relate to these types of books. Ellen Hopkins was an author who came highly recommended. My sister read Crank and enjoyed it. Shanyn said she was good. Plus she gets banned a whole lot. I had figured perhaps she would be worth looking into. I am glad I suspended my aversion to novels in verse to read Crank by Ellen Hopkins.
I am not sure this story could have been told in any other way and have been as effective. There is a lot of blank space on the pages. I actually liked the way Hopkins played with spacing and structuring the poems. Granted, I never really thought all that deeply on the poems, i.e. what is the deeper meaning of the structure of these lines in this place. However, I could see a teacher using this book in the classroom. Crank reads very, very quickly — if I had to estimate — in about 3 hours. However, you absolutely should not underestimate Crank because it’s a quick read. The emotional punch stays with you. I mean, it is so easy to relate to Kristina, even though I have none of her problems.
“I swear, ever guy you kiss is/ so different. Each has a unique/ essence, each a significant style.” pg. 306
The slashes denote line breaks FYI. I could totally relate to the above quote, since it is true. I’ve kissed like, 12 guys, and yes, yes that rings true.
Then there is the language and imagery of the lines within Crank, which I thought was well done, stylistically:
“The way it’s okay to gift/ their heart one day, a/ backhand the next, to/ move on to the apricot/ when the peach/ blushes and/ bruises.” pg. 170
Wow. Just wow.
Purchase Crank Here.