- Title: Crank by Ellen Hopkins
- ISBN: 0-689-86519-8
- Publisher: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Shuster, New York, 2004
- Pages: 537
- Age: 15+
Teaser: Could one summer visit to her drug addictive father’s house change Kristina’s life forever? Bree is going to find out.
Plot: When Kristina if forced to visit her long-lost father, whom she has not seen or heard from in eight years, her life takes turns she never dreamed possible. First she meets Adam, the boy who lives in the apartment down stairs, and then he introduces her to many firsts; her first kiss, her first cigarette and then her first taste of the “Monster.” Now as she returns home to Reno, where she was a straight “A” student, respected her mother and step father, and made all the right choices, now she is faced with decisions she never imagined. Lucky for Kristina, Bree is there to take over for her. Little did she know that just one taste of the “Monster” is never enough and her life begins to whirl and spin out of control. Getting her next fix is all she thinks about, and costs her many things like; her life savings, her virginity, respect from her parents and life as she knew it.
Critical Evaluation: Crank by Ellen Hopkins is about a young girl, almost 17, who could be anyone’s daughter, even Ellen’s. It is a story based about 60% off Ellen’s own daughter who became addicted to meth. One major theme in the book that Hopkins teaches to her readers is to understand the consequences of their decisions may not be as easily forgotten as one had hopes. A second theme she illustrates is that coming of age is much more difficult when faced with drug addition, that growing up and having to face peer pressures can take hold of an individual’s life and make a mess of it. With her spellbinding and broken free verse style, Hopkins captures her audience and draws them into the story wanting a happy ending to a tragic adolescence. Unfortunately, many teens never make it out of addiction and all stories do not have happy endings. Hopkins brings drug addiction, rape, teens growing out of control, front and center and shows how easy it is for them to wake up addicted to meth. Some teachers, parents and counselors may want teens to avoid these issues, yet it could also open up their eyes to realities of drug addiction. Personally, some teens need to read it, to walk a path in literature they will hopefully never want to walk in real life. Ellen Hopkins shows us how easy one decision can affect the rest of our lives.
About the Author: Ellen Hopkins grew up in Palm Springs, California with her adoptive parents and attended a private school where she learned at an early age she wanted to become a writer. Her life took many different turns; she graduated high school, dropped out of college, got married, had two children and divorced when her second child, Cristal was still a baby. Her ex moved to Albuquerque, just like Kristina’s father in Crank. Ellen owned her own video story till 1984 when she sold it, but not until she had met her one true love, John Hopkins. They moved to Nevada in 1985 and currently still live there. The real story behind Crank happened during the years of 1995-2001 at which time “Hunter” was born, whom they later adopted. His real name is Orion (Ellen Hopkins.com, 2012). She began her writing career in 1990. She writes both Young Adult fiction, in verse and adult fiction.
Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction/ Abuse/Teen Pregnancy/Alternate Formats
Curriculum Ties: English/Health
Challenged Issues: Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit. If and when this book or others like it are presented as a challenge, as a librarian I would defend the authors First Amendment Rights as well as the libraries obligation to have material available to patrons who would like to read it. I would nicely explain that it is the parent’s responsibility to limit their children’s reading material.
Library Bill of Rights: American Library Association, retrieve from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/
Challenge Materials: American Library Association, retrieve from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/challengedmaterials
Awards: 2005 Awards included: Quills Award nominee, Book Sense Top 10, NYPL Recommended for Teens, PSLA Top Ten for Teens, Charlotte Award, IRA Young Adult Choices Award. 2006 Awards included: Kentucky Bluegrass Award, SSLI Honor Book Award, Gateway Readers Awards winner (Wikipedia, 2012).
Book Included: This book opens teen’s eyes to the realities of drug addiction and the effects it has on the rest of their lives. That after only one try they can become addicted and begin down a long and narrow path to recklessness.
Book talk idea: Just one try of the “Monster” and Bree is hooked. How will Kristina ever get hold of her life with Bree pushing her way out, demanding just one more hit, searching for her next fit in all the wrong places? Can Kristina win or will Bree continue to take hold of her life?
Find on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH7hWlpcfY0
EllenHopkins.com. (2012). Bio. Retrieved from http://ellenhopkins.com/YoungAdult/bio/
Wikipedia. (2012). Crank (Novel). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_(novel)