on 27 July 2013
"Wow" was my initial reaction after reading this book/poem. Ellen Hopkins has created poetry for the modern mind; I was hooked from the first page and read it within hours. I knew what I was getting myself into but I didn't expect to love Hopkins style as much as I did.
I hadn't read any of Ellen Hopkins books before so I thought that Crank would be the best place to start as it was her first. Just like the rest of her books, Crank is written in verse. I really enjoyed how the verses were placed differently on each page as it added to the uniqueness (is that even a word?) of the book. Hopkins is able to bring out a lot of raw emotion in so little words, this helped me understand what the main character was feeling throughout different stages in the plot.
In a way this book reminded me of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as we see two sides to our main character. There's Kristina, a good girl who would never do anything remotely bad and then there's Bree. Bree's a thrill seeking, adrenaline junkie who welcomes danger with loving arms and a warm smile. On a summer trip to her dads we say goodbye to Kristina and soak up in the essence of Bree, for the first time in her life we see Kristina exposing herself to drugs, alcohol and love. I don't think I've ever read a book based around addiction so not only was it interesting but also insightful. Kristina's character is based on Ellen Hopkins own daughter and her dealings with the monster, this makes the book a lot more personal to the author herself. I respect her for sharing this story with us as I think that it shows us readers how drugs not only effect a person but also the others around them.
It was intriguing to see the hold the monster has on Kristina and how it affects her wherever she goes. We get to see its destructive nature and how it gradually changes her as a person. I would've liked to have read a book like this while I was at school as I think it's a great way to show young people the effects of drugs and how they ruin lives.
I cannot put into words how wonderful this book is and the impact it's had on me. I feel that my words do not do it justice; it is definitely one of the hardest books I've ever reviewed. This book is sculpted to perfection, eerie and haunting but one I definitely won't forget soon. I plead that everyone gives it a chance, even if you don't like it you'll still come out with something, an important, powerful knowledge of addiction and the downward spiral that comes with drugs.
on 8 October 2014
When I had first read the description of the book I was extremely excited to start reading it. I thought a book about a teenager who gets on drugs? Why not
The book was a easy read I finished it in two days, I found it quite interesting and was easily hooked
The only downfall to the book, I am warning you guys now because prior reading the comments I was not aware of this, the format of the book is like a poem and at time was very difficult to read and confusing. I got samples of her other two books in this series and I realized the writing format is still the same so although I am curious to find out what happens in part two, I am not sure if I will be purchasing it just because I found the way it was written very stressful to read
on 15 August 2011
Crank is the story of 16-year-old Kristina/Bree who's forced to spend some time with her father during the summer. There she meets Adam or `Buddy' who introduces her to crank. From then on she's on a rollercoaster downward spiral that changes her personality (good girl Kristina's loses herself in her alter ego `Bree' all too quickly and all too often), has an impact on her relationships with her (former) friends and family, and forces the reader to contemplate the effects one bad decision can have on your life.
Though this is a 500+ page novel, it is sure to suck you in from the introduction. This is mainly due to two things. Firstly you realize that the story here is not just a hollow message as Ellen Hopkins experienced the consequence a drug addiction can have firsthand: the story in Crank is based on her own daughter. This in itself is a gripping fact. Secondly, this is a novel in verse, and though this too may be intimidating at first, the poetry itself is never hard to read, is very visual (Hopkins has definitely tried to make sure there's some added poetic value in the visualization of her words ) and helps you get through the story sooner than you can say `drug addiction'!
Crank is definitely a novel with a message - Hopkins even says as much in her Author's Note: "If this story speaks to you, I have accomplished what I set out to do. Crank is, indeed, a monster - one that is tough to leave behind once you invite it into your life. Think twice. Then think again." As such, writing this novel must have been a cathartic experience for Hopkins, one which she hopes to transmit onto the reader. Whether she has succeeded in this, the cat will leave up to each individual reader. The cat will say this, however: For readers of YA-fiction dealing with drug addiction, the comparison to both Go Ask Alice and Melvin Burgess' Junk, is obvious. Both these novels have been decade-defining in many middle school libraries and the cat admits to using both of these in literature circles in her classes too, and Crank could have the same effect on parents, teachers and librarians. Being semi-biographical and having the added layer of being a novel in verse, this book has everything to be a school library and classroom favorite.
Glass is the second part of Ellen Hopkins' Crank-trilogy. Set not long after Kristina gives birth to her son Hunter, the story of Glass takes us further into Kristina's destructive descent into drug-induced madness...because madness it is, with Kristina displaying behavior that is totally incomprehensible for people who have never experienced firsthand what a drug addiction can do to yourself and the people around you. The once academically gifted Kristina - hardly ever does she mention her self-confident Bree alter ego anymore - is forced to take a job at a Seven Eleven, a job she only takes to finance her meth addiction. It also doesn't take long before her mother throws her out of the house because she's such a danger to her son Hunter. Forced to find a place to live, she ends us with Brad - her boyfriend Trey's cousin - and his two daughters as a live-in nanny, something which suits her fine, because Brad has an almost limitless supply of the best crystal due to his Mexican connection.
In Crank you could argue that Kristina's addiction and the resulting behavior may have seemed a bit haphazard, a bit unbelievable even especially because of how quickly everything deteriorated for Kristina. However, the same can definitely not be said about Glass. The cat really thought that Glass was a lot harsher than Crank. A lot more believable too as it shows Kristina's physical as well as mental decline. It shows what Kristina really is: a drug fiend, a useless junkie who no longer cares about anything - she doesn't even seem to miss her baby son Hunter - besides her next fix, the next meeting with the monster. Despite her mental dilapidation Kristina's stream of consciousness often meticulously describes how she feels when she is or is not under the influence of the monster.
Also, any sympathy you might have had for Kristina and her desire to find a way to become more visible, will soon disappear. From the start, the reader (as well as Kristina herself) knows what her addiction will lead to: lies, neglect, and her physical, emotional and intellectual downfall. The Bree alter ego was even before her addiction a manifestation of Kristina's desire for something else, something bigger than what she was... as it happened, the monster seemed to offer just that, but little did she know what the monster wanted in return: her entire being: body, mind, soul. It's not a coincidence that Bree is hardly ever there anymore. Kristina willingly steps into the world of the monster this time around.
Glass will not offer anything that an Ellen Hopkins fan doesn't know already, but that's OK. Glass is as haunting and addictive as crank is to Kristina, so I'm sure that when you are done reading this 2nd part, you will definitely want to read about how Hunter, Kristina's son, perceives everything. And indeed, a change in point of view, is (after 2 Kristina books) exactly what this trilogy needs!
on 20 March 2014
The true-ringing voice of Kristina and the rhythm of the poetic prose drew me straight into the story. I found it courageously told, she didn't seem to hold anything back, didn't try to find excuses for her getting addicted.And I think Ellen Hopkins did a brilliant job on describing the highs of meth, thereby showing how hard it is to shake that addiction - despite the unavoidable lows that follow the highs.
It was a great reading and emotional experience.
I would recommend it to all teenagers, and to a lot of parents.
on 28 June 2015
Ugh, Ellen Hopkins gets to me every time. Such a Powerful Book.
Ellen Hopkins did it again!
This was such a dark & haunting read because it was such a raw, non sugar coated novel.
It showed the true effect of drugs on the person & the people around them. It didn't hold back at all & delivered an honest and realistic novelisation of what many people go through.
The novel is based on Hopkins' daughter's relationship with the drug crystal meth & her battle with her addiction. The thoughts & feelings explored in this book convey that Hopkins did not want to shy away from the true reality of drugs, & wanted to portray the true "monster" in a drug addiction. I can only applaud her on this insightful read that taught me so many important lessons about the monster.
This story was devastating & I found myself shocked at all too many of the events during this book. And it saddened me to know similar things happen in people's lives because of the monster.
I think the Kristina & Bree personality split was extraordinary & the contrast between the two really brought to light how drugs can completely alter a person's personality.
The issues of drugs, family, friendship, relationships, rape & suicide were all handled superbly by Hopkins. And I yet again applaud Ellen for a thought provoking & truthful story.
on 18 December 2013
A poetically written, interesting insight into a completely mesmerising topic. Great metaphors and subliminal meanings. Amazon, as per, had the lowest price (I have staff discount at WH Smiths...), free delivery, decent delivery speed and recyclable, strong packaging so the book was not at all scuffed