Crank
by Hopkins, Ellen






Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.





Gr. 8-12. Like the teenage crack user in the film Traffic, the young addict in this wrenching, cautionary debut lives in a comfortable, advantaged home with caring parents. Sixteen-year-old Kristina first tries crank, or crystal meth, while visiting her long-estranged father, a crank junkie. Bree is Kristina's imagined, bolder self, who flirts outrageously and gets high without remorse, and when Kristina returns to her mother and family in Reno, it's Bree who makes connections with edgy guys and other crank users that escalate into full-blown addiction and heartrending consequences. Hopkins tells Kristina's story in experimental verse. A few overreaching lines seem out of step with character voices: a boyfriend, for example, tells Kristina that he'd like to wait for sex until she is "free from dreams of yesterday." But Hopkins uses the spare, fragmented style to powerful effect, heightening the emotional impact of dialogues, inner monologues, and devastating scenes, including a brutal date rape. Readers won't soon forget smart, sardonic Kristina; her chilling descent into addiction; or the author's note, which references her own daughter's struggle with "the monster." ((Reviewed November 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.





Hypnotic and jagged free verse wrenchingly chronicles 16-year-old Kristina's addiction to crank. Kristina's daring alter ego, Bree, emerges when "gentle clouds of monotony" smother Kristina's life-when there's nothing to do and no one to connect with. Visiting her neglectful and druggy father for the first time in years, Bree meets a boy and snorts crank (methamphetamine). The rush is irresistible and she's hooked, despite a horrible crank-related incident with the boy's other girlfriend. Back home with her mother, Kristina feels both ignored and smothered, needing more drugs and more boys-in that order. One boy is wonderful and one's a rapist, but it's crank holding Bree up at this point. The author's sharp verse plays with spacing on the page, sometimes providing two alternate readings. In a too brief wrap-up, Kristina keeps her baby (a product of rape) while Hopkins-realistically-offers no real conclusion. Powerful and unsettling. (author's note) (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.





Flirtin' with the Monster

Life was good

before I

met

the monster.

After,

life

was great.

At

least

for a little while.

Text copyright 2004 by Ellen Hopkins

Introduction

So you want to know all

about me. Who

I am.

What chance meeting of

brush and canvas painted

the face

you see? What made

me despise the girl

in the mirror

enough to transform her,

turn her into a stranger,

only not.

So you want to hear

the whole story. Why

I swerved

off the high road,

hard left to nowhere,

recklessly

indifferent to those

coughing my dust,

picked up speed

no limits, no top end,

just a high velocity rush

to madness.

Text copyright 2004 by Ellen Hopkins

Alone

everything changes.

Some might call it distorted reality,

but it's exactly the place I need to be:

no mom,

Marie, ever more distant,

in her midlife quest for fame

no stepfather,

Scott, stern and heavy-handed

with unattainable expectations

no big sister,

Leigh, caught up in a tempest

of uncertain sexuality

no little brother,

Jake, spoiled and shameless

in his thievery of my niche.

Alone,

there is only the person inside.

I've grown to like her better

than the stuck-up husk of me. She's

not quite silent,

shouts obscenities just because

they roll so well off the tongue

not quite straight-A,

but talented in oh-so-many

enviable ways

not quite sanitary,

farts with gusto, picks

her nose, spits like a guy

not quite sane,

sometimes, to tell you the truth,

even I wonder about her.

Alone,

there is no perfect daughter,

no gifted high-school junior,

no Kristina Georgia Snow.

There is only Bree.

Text copyright 2004 by Ellen Hopkins

On Bree

I suppose

she's always been

there, vague as a soft

copper pulse of moonlight

through blossoming seacoast

fog.

I wonder

when I first noticed

her, slipping in and out

of my pores, hide-and-seek

spider in fieldstone, red-bellied

phantom.

I summon

Bree when dreams

no longer satisfy, when

gentle clouds of monotony

smother thunder, when Kristina

cries.

I remember

the night I first

let her go, opened the

smeared glass, one thin pane,

cellophane between rules and sin,

freed.

Text copyright 2004 by Ellen Hopkins






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