Real, raw and potentially triggering.

Summary:

Kristina Snow is a straight-A, responsible, high school junior who never gets in trouble. This all changes when she decides to take a 3-week visit to see her father, who lives in Albuquerque. While there, she meets Adam, who preys on her insecurities and introduces her to crystal meth. At first, she feels ecstatic and like she is finally, truly living. By the time she returns home to Reno, she is hooked on Crank. Her personality transforms into a sly, wild, and reckless alter-ego by the name of “Bree.” Bree allows Kristina to lie to her parents, manipulate others, and get with dangerous boys who can supply her some ice.

Kristina snorts, injects, and smokes meth, putting it into her body any way she can. Eventually, Bree even stoops to selling crank, begins smoking cigarettes, and tries other drugs like ecstasy.

NOTE: Contains explicit descriptions of drug use, self-harm, and rape. Readers dealing with addiction or trauma may find the material triggering. 


BTSYA / Teen Reviewer (14):
This book is a good cautionary tale for high schoolers. Crank is loosely based on the life of Ellen Hopkins’ own daughter. It is a good “this would never happen to me” story. Kristina appears to be the perfect daughter, and many teens can relate to a girl who wants to be loved and is popular. This book can give families of addicts a better understanding of things they experienced.

I recommend it for ages 14 and older. It will take a mature reader to grasp how one bad decision can destroy your life, as well as emotionally handle the graphic content.  This is the first book in a trilogy, so it doesn't end here. Some readers dislike Crank because Kristina suffers barely any consequences for her actions. It needs to be pointed out that her family tightens their grip on her life in the later books.

This is a story told in verse. Some readers think the different fonts used in the free verse make it hard to understand. I find the use of the different writing interesting, as it adds to the emphasis of the writing.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This is a raw, very real, sad story. It will not appeal to all readers. 

Content Awareness Factors:

Profanity, as well as explicit sexual situations, including rape and teen pregnancy, self-harm, and drug use. 


Type of Book:
This is the first book in a realistic fiction series based on the author's daughter and her addiction to crystal methamphetamine.
Educational Themes:

This is a gritty, realistic look at addiction. Although Kristina/Bree is the main character, how her addiction affected her family is clear. This could be a book for addressing hard-to-talk-about topics with kids. 

Reading Level:
4.3
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 14
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow or skip. It is a very real story, but it may be too harsh for some readers.

Title Crank
About

Crank, Book 1 of 3

Author Ellen Hopkins
Publisher Margaret K. McElderry Books, Imprint Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing © 2004
ISBN 9780689865190
Material Paperback
Cost $14.99
Genres Family, Poetry, Health & Wellness, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Stories In Verse, Social Issues, Romance
be the star you are
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