Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Published October 5th 2004 by Simon Pulse
Source: Swapped

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.- Goodreads
I will admit, I did not read a single review of what this book was like before getting it. I saw it was on swap and I thought to myself, "Oh I think I've heard people say this one is good, so I will go ahead and get it." I was pretty much just expecting a drug related teen drama a la Go Ask Alice (the covers are even similar...well as much as white text on a black cover can be similar). However, as soon as I open the book, I see it is all poems. Each and every page is formatted like a teenager would do in her notebook; some scattered and free form verse, writing diagonally and upside down on the page. Yes, it is written from a teenager perspective, but I will admit that I was not looking forward to reading 530 pages of poems. I wanted to dislike it immediately. I read it (in one sitting) wanting to hate it and just get it over with. But I didn't. However, I can't, in all honesty, say that I liked it either.

I will say that the use of the poems allowed a lot of the extraneous fluff to be taken out and what you are left with is very succinct tale of the downward spiral of a teenage girl into the world of drugs. The story itself is assuredly  engrossing. The reality of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll turns out isn't all Kristina thought it would be. What makes this book special (and also hard to say anything bad about) is the fact that the story is actually a semi-biographical account of the author's daughter. I don't really feel that makes her an expert necessarily on her daughter's emotions as she goes through her harrowing, drug-crazed journey, but it does make it that much more heart-breaking.

In the end, I decided that the use of the poetry format really did make sense. Quick thoughts and short phrases really leaves the reader wanting to know more, which in turn keeps the interest high and the pages flying by.

(P.S. I'm not totally against trying out another Ellen Hopkins book, but I don't think I particularly care for the Crank series. I'm thinking Tricks might be more relatable. Let me know what you think if you've read this one!)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I never knew that the book was all poems. I can imagine that, like you, I would've been a little put off by that. I've heard so many great things about this one, but I stayed away. Drugs and downward spirals aren't really my cup of tea. I understand the need for those types of books, but I read to escape harsh reality. What can I say? I like for my characters to end up happy :) Hope you're enjoying Klause's The Silver Kiss. I've read it a couple times and liked it (except the kinda creepy child/bad guy).
    Have a great one,
    Ninja Girl


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