Friday, November 25, 2011

Crank - Ellen Hopkins

Summary:  Life was good
before I
met
the monster

After,
Life
was great.
At
least
for a little
while.

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.  Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.  (Summary from back of the book and image from http://commskills10pd1.wikispaces.com/Crank)

My Review:  I read this in a day, total.  And before you're too impressed, despite it's 537 pages the book is written in poetry format.  It reads FAST.  Combine the subject matter with Hopkin's writing style and it's one you can't put down.  I cannot imagine how quickly Kristina became Bree, although from everything I've ever heard or read about meth, it's an accurate portrayal.  For most it only takes one time and you're hooked hard.

Completely heart-breaking is the only way I could describe what I imagine her mother went through.  I read this book dreading more and more that my daughters would ever, could ever come in contact with this life destroying drug.  Kristina's fall from normalcy into drug induced insanity was so abrupt, so drastic I left the book honestly depressed.  I do want to pick up the next two in the series just to see where it leads.

Hopkin's admits that this character is based on her daughter and that the child mentioned at the end is also her grandson.  I feel I must give her credit: she didn't sugar coat her role in the story.  Kristina painted a picture of her mother the way I've heard teens describe their mothers--and it was not flattering.  Hopkins was not trying to save face when she wrote this story--it's all the ugly details plain for everyone to see.

I feel hesitant to recommend this to just anyone, especially teens.  If it comes across as the red-flag-warning that I deemed it to be, I would say everyone should read it.  But, you never know.  Some kids may be enticed by the wild world, the highs and lows, the graphic relationships, the broken people.

I also feel I need to mention that there is a rape scene brought on by Kristina's overwhelming need for meth.  It's painful, raw, real.  Again, my worst nightmare would be for my daughters to come in contact with this drug.  It's horrifying.

Rating: 4.25 stars

For the sensitive reader:  Not a YA book to read lightly.  Swear words, rape scene (although not graphic), drug use, you name it and for the most part it's there.  Although I feel it's written in way of warning.

Sum it up:  I hope I never, ever have to face this real-life nightmare up close.

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