Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review - Crank by Ellen Hopkins (5/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Size: 544 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: June 15, 2010
ISBN: 978-1416995135
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through
Rating: 5/5 stars

I had this book on my shelf to read for a while and finally pulled it out to read on a whim. This was an absolutely creative and wonderful read. It is kind of a modern, more poetic, version of Go Ask Alice for a new generation.

Kristina is a good girl but like a lot of teenage girls she has things about herself she doesn't like. When she begs her mom to go spend the summer with her dad, things get bad. Kristina's dad is a druggie and his neighbors aren't much better. When Kristina falls for a hot guy named Adam she has her first experience doing crank. She loves it and the personality of Kristina starts to fall away and be replaced by a naughty, michevous girl named Bree. When Kristina goes home after the summer she thinks maybe she can put Bree away forever, but she can't...and her life spirals further and further out of control.

This was an awesome book partly because of the creative way the story is told. The story is told in verse, with short verses depicting events that happen to Kristina as her life spins further out of control. That's not all though, there are verses told within the verse. The verses are formatted in such a way that certain words are pulled out and to the side of the main part of the verse. If you read the pulled out words in order you will get another meaning to the verse; kind of a separate verse within the main verse. This was pretty much genius on Hopkins part and it was fascinating.

So, okay the book was very creative but was it in engaging? Absolutely. I had an incredibly hard time putting this book down. The whole time you are hoping Kristina can beat "the monster" and start putting her life together. At the same time watching how she descends into drug use is fascinating and absolutely engrossing. The whole time you are just hoping nothing bad will happen to her and cringing when it does.

This book really drives home the fact of how easy it is for a completely normal person to find themselves caught in a downward spiral like Kristina is. The other thing that is really pressed home is how the people who know and love Kristina act. Many of her friends just can't deal with her anymore so they don't. Her mother tries to help but doesn't have a grip on how much trouble Kristina is in; as a result Kristina ends up incredibly isolated. Really in the end the only person who can really help her is herself.

Given the subject matter this is a book for older teens, or maybe a cautionary tale for younger teens. Just be aware that there is some violence, rape, and (of course) lots of drug usage throughout this book. The books ties up pretty well and I was surprised to see that there are two more books to this series; Glass and Fallout.

Overall I loved this book. The style it is written in is creative, intriguing, and just absolutely genius. The story itself is realistic, intriguing and absolutely engaging. This is an excellent cautionary tale on drugs, but it is also a tale about how easy it is for a normal person to spiral out of control and isolate themselves. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series, Glass.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge

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