Hopkins, Ellen. Crank. First Simon Pulse, New York, 2004. ISBN: 9781416995135
Kristina Snow has found herself a new personality: Bree. Bree does all the things Kristina would never do, including drugs. After going away to visit her loser father, she is introduced to crank by her father’s neighbor. Soon Kristina’s life back at home with her mother spirals out of control. Skipping school, running away from home, being raped, getting arrested and being an all-around nightmare is all due to “the monster” of crystal meth. Once Kristina learns she is pregnant, not by her boyfriend, but by her attacker, she decides to have the baby and clean up.
Unlike other novels in verse such as What My Mother Doesn’t Know, this book really deals with more gritty realistic issues like those of Go Ask Alice. Like many novels now, the topic is something shocking. However, knowing that Ellen Hopkins wrote this after dealing with her own daughter’s drug addiction, I felt more interested. I wondered how Hopkins felt about the mother as she wrote her – does she think/know that her daughter felt the same way towards her during those times?
School Library Journal reviews this by saying, “The poems are masterpieces of word, shape, and pacing, compelling readers on to the next chapter in Kristina’s spiraling world. This is a topical page-turner and a stunning portrayal of a teen’s loss of direction and realistically uncertain future.” The power of the poetry and the intense subject matter make this work very well. What I love about these novels in verse is that you get straight to the heart of the issues and never have to wait for the author to get to the point.
I now have the second book in the series, Glass. I’m glad Hopkins is putting out an adult fiction novel too. I’d love to see how this style of writing can work for the genre.