Kristina is a good student who gets good grades and never gets into trouble; Bree is confident, sexy, and an unyielding force that knows what she wants and takes it. What do these two wildly different girls have in common? Kristina and Bree are alter egos of the same person. She’s Kristina when she’s sober and Bree under the influence of the monster, crank aka meth. Bree didn’t exist until Kristina went to New Mexico to visit her estranged father. It’s there that she meets a boy who pulls her into a life of addiction and sends her life into a downward spiral.
APA Reference of Book:
Hopkins, E. (2004). Crank. New York, NY: Simon Pulse.
I’ve avoided this author for a while. It’s not that I’ve heard bad things, but more that I knew the types of books she writes. Hopkins does not shy away from difficult topics like suicide, drug use and sex, and it has landed her on the American Library Association’s list of Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century (click here to see more) more than once. I am an empathetic person, and I have to really steel myself to read books like these because I know they’ll put me in a dark mood. But Hopkins’s books have always caught my attention, and I’ve picked them up more than once in contemplation. So I finally took the leap earlier this week and picked up Crank. It is captivating. Hopkins’s writing style will capture your attention immediately, and you will be pulled into Kristina/ Bree’s roller-coaster world. I can definitely see that this book would not appeal to everyone, but I think that it is an important book for teens. When I was in high school, books like these kept me on the straight and narrow. I can personally say that I have benefited from titles that dealt with similar issues in the past, and I recommend them to my younger cousins to this day. They are not easy or happy reads by any means, but I feel that it is important for younger audiences to see that their decision to try drugs once may not be the harmless fun they’re promised. It certainly wasn’t for Kristina.
“Nonfiction author Hopkins pens her first novel, written in verse, introducing 15-year-old narrator Kristina, who reveals how she became addicted to crank, and how the stimulant turned her from straight-A student to drug dealer, and eventually a teen mom. On a court-ordered visit to see her slimy and long-absent dad, she meets—and is instantly attracted to—Adam, who sports a “tawny six pack,/ and a smile.” Soon, Adam introduces her to “the monster” (there, she also unleashes a new personality, id-driven Bree). Her addiction grows, as does Bree’s control. Readers get a vivid sense of the highs and lows involved with using crank (“I needed food, sleep,/ but the monster denied/ every bit of it”). Her life changes quickly: Soon she’s dating two guys, both of whom use crank; says “Fuck you” to her mom, can’t keep up with school, and loses her old friends. There are plenty of dramatic moments: The first time she does crank, for example, her dad joins her. That same night, she stumbles into a bad area and is almost raped, and Adam’s girlfriend tries to kill herself. Later in the book, she does get raped and starts selling the drug for the Mexican Mafia. Readers will appreciate the creative use of form here (some poems, for instance, are written in two columns that can be read separately or together), and although the author is definitely on a mission, she creates a world nearly as consuming and disturbing as the titular drug. Ages 14-up.”
(2004 November 1). [Review of the book Crank, by E. Hopkins]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-689-86519-0.
This book is written in verse and could be used to help patrons learn about poetry. I would hold a poetry contest to allow teen patrons to submit poems about something that happened in their life.