Crank by Ellen Hopkins is one book that you will not soon forget. It follows the life of Kristina, an honor roll student who visits her father during summer vacation. While visiting her father, who is not often him, she meets Adam. Adam soon convinces her to try methamphetamine, which soon sends her life into a downward spiral.
The novel begins on Kristina’s summer vacation in Albuquerque, where she is staying with her father. Her father is rarely home, which leaves Kristina to her own devices. She meets a boy named Adam, and she ends up liking Adam. Adam ends up convincing Kristina to try meth, and the first time she does it, she runs away. After she runs away, she is attacked by three men, but before anything can happen, Adam saves her. Adam’s girlfriend, Lince, sees him comforting Kristina, and in a jealous rage, attempts to commit suicide by jumping off a balcony. Adam and Kristina end up dating, but she feels bad about his relationship with Lince.
After her three-week vacation ends, she returns home to Reno with her mother. After arriving back home, Kristina decides that her name is now Bree, which she identifies with as an alter ego. While at a water park one day, Kristina meets two characters, Brendan, and Chase. Both of them claim to have connections and promise to get her more meth. She begins to date Chase, but not exclusively. At one point, she calls Brendan for some meth, and he picks her up and drives her into the woods. They get high together, and he starts to take her clothes off. Kristina protests and Brendan becomes enraged. He rips off her clothes and sexually assaults Kristina. Afterward, he returns her home and forces her to pay for the drugs she consumed.
Back home, Kristina writes a letter to Adam telling him about the terrible event that just happened. She never sends the letter but instead calls Chase, who comes to visit while her parents are out. She tells Chase of Brendan’s actions and tries to convince him to sleep with her. He refuses, saying that she needs to recover first.
Later on, Kristina is apprehended by the police while trying to hitchhike and ends up going to juvenile hall. Once she is released, Kristina steals her mother’s credit card to purchase drugs from a connection she made while in juvenile. Kristina soon finds herself dealing crank, and as a result, doing more drugs than before. She starts destroying her relationship with her family and friends but doesn’t realize the impact due to her popularity as a drug dealer. As the story continues, we find out Kristina is pregnant. She stops doing crank and begins going through withdrawals. She believes that Chase is the father but can’t be too sure, so she contemplates either keeping or aborting the child.
This novel is unique and will hook you almost immediately. The story you are subjected to is amazing for two reasons. The first being that the events which were written inspired by the life of Ellen Hopkins daughter, Crystal, who was addicted to meth. The second is the unique writing style employed by the author. It is written in a form of free verse and is both hypnotic and erratic. The narrative follows both an outside perspective with first-hand perspectives of the characters. This book gives you an in-depth look at the life-changing consequences of drug addiction and the decisions faced as a result of that.
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