crank1I resisted Crank when it was first recommended to me by Helen. After all, why would I want to read a book about a teenager who starts doing crank, starts tangoing with “the monster” when there are other more uplifting novels out there? But after she pestered me to read it again, and the recommendation was second by a sophomore I know, I decided to give it a try.

Crank is one of those books that just won’t leave you even after you turn the final page or even after it’s been two days since you finished it. It’s unforgettable and sweeps you into the whirlwinds of drugs, sex, and bad choices that have become Kristina’s life.

The way it’s written – free verse rather than a typical, normal narrative – creates a powerfully dramatic, raw, and real story. Some pages have only a few lines on them and on most pages the print only appears on the very right or is centered, but it’s simplicity is what makes it powerful and beautiful all at the same time.

“Crank, you see
isn’t any ordinary
monster. It’s like a
giant octopus,
its tentacles not
just around you,
but through you,
not hard enough to
kill you, but enough
to keep you from
until you try to get
away. Try, and you
hunger for its
clutch, the way its
tendrils prop you
up, your need
every minute you
refuse to admit its
being.” (pg. 468-469)

Hopkins says in her author’s note that Crank was based on a true story – her daughter’s. She wrote the novel in order to understand what her daughter was thinking, and only decided to get it published in order to get teens to stop and think twice. And then think again. But she does more than succeed in this goal, she makes your breath catch in your throat, your stomach roll, and your heart break.

Read this. Now.

Book Mentioned:

  • Hopkins, Ellen. Crank. New York: Simon Pulse, 2004. Print. 537 pgs. ISBN: 9780689865190. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Simon Pulse. Retrieved: February 10, 2009.