Kristina lives with her mother, step-father, younger brother and sometimes, when she’s not away at school, her older sister. Life is pretty good: she’s a great student, has good friends, and has never been in any trouble. The summer between grade 11 and 12 she goes to spend three weeks with her father, and her life takes a turn down a dark path.
Based on personal experiences with her own daughter, Ellen Hopkins has crafted a compelling novel-in-verse about the horrifying effects drugs can have on a person and a family. Crank traces Kristina’s journey in graphic detail, from her discovery that her father is every bit the deadbeat loser her mother claimed and not the “King of Albuquerque” like she thought straight through to the book’s ambiguous ending. At her father’s, Kristina meets Adam who lives in the same block of apartments.
Nothing/but ragged/ cut-offs,/ hugging a / tawny six pack,/ and a smile.
No pin-up/ pretty boy/ could touch/ a smile that/ zapped every cell./ He was definitely/ not my type.
There’s nothing to do in New Mexico and when Adam suggests they hang out, Kristina reinvents herself on the spot, calling herself Bree. Bree is fearless and when Adam suggests first pot and then crank, telling her it will “make you want to fly all night”, Bree agrees.
According to therecoveryvillage.com “Meth is a man-made stimulant drug. It can come in various forms, including traditional meth in powder or pill form, and crystal meth which looks like glass or shiny rock fragments.” It’s extremely addictive and extremely dangerous, and it doesn’t take very long before it has taken over Kristina’s life.
Even after she returns to Reno and her family, she is jonesing for a fix. It doesn’t take too long for things to spiral out of control. She lies to her friends, steals from her parents, sneaks out at night and makes poor decisions based on her need to feed the “monster.”
Crank, you see/ isn’t any ordinary/ monster. It’s like a/ giant octopus,/ weaving/ its tentacles not/ just around you,/ but through you,/ squeezing/ not hard enough to/ kill you, but enough/ to keep you from/ reeling/ until you try to get/ away.
Hopkins captures the intensity of crank’s hold on Kristina’s life and the book is riveting, heartbreaking and important.