Author: Ellen Hopkins
Rating: O for Outstanding
Review: For the longest time now, I've been amused by and interested in drugs. No, not doing drugs. But seeing stories about people who do drugs. It amazes me how a substance can change a person so quickly. How it can make your life escalate and then sink it as quick as a heartbeat. How it can make you feel like you’re at the top of the world, and once it’s gone, the overwhelming need to have more. I have only seen it before on television. Skins (UK) to be exact. Seen the lives of countless teenagers being destroyed by a substance, right before my very eyes. But like the drug itself, I was addicted see more. I couldn't stop watching. I needed more, so I became attached to Crank.
I had heard about the books before, but it wasn’t until after I had watched Skins (UK) that I had actually purchased it. I had a strange need for more stories about teens and drugs. I wanted to get into their heads. I needed to feel what they felt in the safest way possible. It became an addiction of my own, but hardly on the level of addiction those teenagers faced.
Crank is a novel written in verse-poetry. It follows a sixteen-year-old girl who discovers a monster. In sparse, beautiful words, she describes how her life changes and she becomes someone else, literally. She explains how she first got into drugs and what came in the aftermath. She tells us how her need for more made her life a true living Hell, and how it tore her away from her family. It shows us how Kristina is no longer Kristina, but how she is now a person much unlike herself, Bree.
I could not put that book down. I read for about half an hour when I first picked it in the early hours of the morning while the rest of the world slept. I got around hundred or so pages in before the following hours of the next morning, where I began to devour the book and refused could to put it down from then on. It had easily become my own drug, and I needed to feel the rush in one whole turn, instead small, uninspired spurts. Perhaps it is because the poetry was so much more refreshing and different from my usual prose, but something incredibly special about it made it impossible to ignore.
The writing style was fantastic. I am a newcomer to poetry, yet I loved every word that Ellen Hopkins wrote for me. I say me because I felt as if I alone read the novel, and that I was not simply part of the thousands of others who had read the book from all around the world. The words flowed so naturally and struck so many raw emotions into my heart. Not only that, but the words played our eyes, descending down the pages in different shapes and structures, like skylines in a vast city and beating hearts trying to break free from the pain.
The story was heartbreaking. To see what Kristina had gone through, and to have her think everything was just as it should be, set me on a rage. I wanted to desperately save this girl. I wanted to take her into my arms and hold her tightly until she had recovered. What made it even more emotional, however, was that Crank is based off a true story regarding Ellen Hopkins’ daughter. Right from the start, Hopkins tells us that, “While the work is fiction, it is loosely based on a very true story-my daughter’s.” Even though she did not go through everything Kristina had gone through, my heart still went out to her. I found myself crying at times, shedding the tears that Kristina didn’t dare. I became the person she wanted to be. I wanted to feel safe and secure but she took me even further into Hell. She didn’t do it alone, however. She had help in her decline, and it drew hatred from me toward those involved.
I must admit that at times I wonder what would happen to me if I were ever to take drugs. I wonder what might happen if I smoked weed or popped a few pills. Even though I read and see these stories, it does not show what I might go through. But, living in the lives of these teenagers, going down with them and not being able to get back up, it helps me greatly to stay away from these monsters and the destruction they cause. There are so many people out there, all over the world, who do not have that kind of help. They do not know what they are getting into when they take their first hit or their first puff or their first snort of their first line. The monster isn’t indecisive. It will take any who are willing to let.
*Thank you to Shaun for helping me edit this review. =D