Author: Ellen Hopkins
Series: Crank, #1
Genres: In-Verse, Poetry, Realistic, Young Adult
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: October 1st, 2004
In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.
I was actually pretty excited to start this book. For one I’m a huge fan of poetry and used to write it all the time when I was younger. I haven’t read poetry in just as long, but the idea of mixing poetry and a story in a novel is such a cool concept and the great reviews just pushed me even more over the edge.
But for a few reasons this just fell kind of flat for me and didn’t end up being what I was expecting. Since this is my first in-verse book I kind of had some pre-conceived assumptions about what it would be like. The biggest one was that the poems would be more standalone poems that string together in a more symbolic manner rather than pretty much just a regular novel written in small poems.
What I mean is that the poems go from moment-to-moment and day-to-day in Kristina/Bree’s life and even everyday normal things were described like in a novel. So it was written in a way I wasn’t really expecting.
The other thing was that it was a little annoying to read in the format that it was written in. Not so much the poems but the “designs” that were made from the words. Sometimes the words were typed out to look like shapes or just various designs and I found it to be a bit distracting without really adding anything to the story itself.
Aside from the format I found it really hard to connect with Kristina/Bree. I have never been addicted to crack so that might be one reason for the issue. But I found her reasons for going that route in life to be a little bit weak and selfish. Also, since crack is so addictive it isn’t what I would call a recreational drug (in my opinion). Therefore, is it really so popular that nearly everyone she comes into contact with is doing it? That seemed a bit unrealistic. Anyways, by the end of the book I felt like she kind of got off a little easy with things falling into place a little too nicely considering all the bad choices she’s made.
Which leads me to my final issue with the book (that I can think of at the moment at least). That is that it ended rather abruptly. The book seemed to be building up and building up and then some “consequences” happen which I felt weren’t really consequences of using the drug itself but of some of her other choices. Anyways, then the past fifty pages or so go by quickly and then it’s just done. I see that there’s a few more books in the “series” but it didn’t feel like it wrapped up good enough on its own.
In the end I was not a huge fan of this book and I’m not entirely sure if it’s the style (in-verse) or if it’s the author. I will probably try another few in-verse books I already have on my to-read list before I write off the genre all-together, but I probably won’t read anymore books by this author. I decided to go with three stars instead of two because it is a creative way of writing a book and it’s a subject that I think could be relatable for those who have been through or are going through a similar situation.
Leave a Reply