Acquired: Purchased myself
Published: October 5th 2004, Simon Pulse
Pages: 537 pages, paperback
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My review: Crank is an absolutely terrifying novel about Kristina’s descent into crystal meth addiction. At the beginning of the novel she’s a shy youth who isn’t quite sure where she fits into the world but, after meeting a rebellious boy while visiting her estranged father, Kristina vanishes and Bree appears – her violent, vindictive alter ego who will stop at nothing to get her next fix.
Reading Crank was my first experience of Ellen Hopkins’ writing but I fell in love instantly. I’ve always enjoyed verse novels but haven’t read as many as I’d like (I started with Sonja Sones’ Stop Pretending and have been hooked ever since) so when I found out about Hopkins I was desperate to give her novels a go. I always prefer my young adult novels to have a bit of edge to them so Crank seemed to be the perfect read for me. And it was.
It’s not exactly enjoyable reading about the journey Kristina goes on but the writing is second to none and I couldn’t shake the hope that she would manage to come out the other side of addiction, relatively unscathed. Of course, that’s entirely unrealistic and another wonderful thing about this novel is that every detail had been researched and well thought out. At no point did I feel like Hopkins was imagining how the family would feel – she knows exactly how drug addiction can tear a family apart and it shows.
Despite the horrible things she does to get a fix, I couldn’t help but be sympathetic to Kristina, right up to the end of the novel and even when she’s at her lowest, there are still glimpses of the kind, sweet girl we saw at the beginning of the story. Hopkins’ characterisation is brilliant and she manages to slip in shockingly horrific events with ease that fit in right alongside the awkward family breakfasts and stereotypical teen parties.
After reading the first installment of Kristina’s battle against the monster I’m absolutely desperate to get my hands on Glass before the September release of the final book, Fallout.
Final thoughts: A terrifying but beautifully executed story about how drug addiction can creep up on you when you least expect it.
First line: “Life was good before I met the monster.”
Read if you liked...: Junk – Melvin Burgess (US title – Smack)
Total: 17/20 (A)