Monday, January 19, 2015

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank by Ellen Hopkins is about high school junior Kristina Georgia Snow. From the outside, she looks like the perfect girl. She lives in a beautiful home with a nice family, earns good grades, has quality friends, and always makes the right choice. But when she visits her father, Kristina disappears and is replaced by Bree. While visiting her father, Bree meets "the monster" and her life is changed forever

Due to the quick read on Thursday, I reread the beginning of Crank to refresh my memory. As I read, I realized that I had made a major mistake! I originally thought the main character's name was Bree. However, after rereading the beginning of the book, I realized that her real name is Kristina and Bree is who she becomes when she wants to escape her good-girl self. Rereading became a strategy I used while reading this book because it helped me to clarify any confusions (such as the main character's name) and to catch all of the small details in the book. 

Once this confusion was cleared up, I started to really get into the story and I found myself unable to put the book down. There were so many times I wanted to stop and blog about my reading, but I did not want to break away from the book. Instead, I covered the book in Post-it notes and pencil, marking up all the spots that evoked a feeling, reaction, prediction, or thought as I read. A few hours later and my book looked like this... 

If you read the book, you will understand this Post-it notes madness. 

Although I've never had experience with addiction or drugs, I found myself relating to Kristina. I understood those issues she had with her mom, the pressure she felt to maintain her grades, and so on. I think a lot of teenagers can relate to that as well. I think that they can also relate to the allure of Bree because sometimes that pressure can become too much and the desire to just let go overpowers all reasoning and logic. And despite how smart you may be, it can be hard to make the right choice with how to escape who you are. 

My professor, Dr. Jones, told me that a young girl at a conference she was attending described Crank as a vaccine. She said it was like a vaccine because you have to get a little bit of the disease in order to be able to defend yourself from it. So, reading Crank gives you a little bit of an understanding of what it is like to lose yourself in the world of addiction and the consequences that come from how one tries to lose themselves. I could not think of a better way to describe this book. It is honest and brutal. It really portrays the horrors of addiction and how it tears people and families apart. For those who may be feeling that tug of who they are and the person that they could become to escape that reality, Crank can be the vaccine for them so that they choose healthy coping methods rather than turning to drugs. 

I was beyond excited to learn that there are two more books in this series entitled Glass and Fallout. I am adding these to my reading list and look forward to completing the Crank trilogy. I have recently created a GoodReads account to keep track of the books I have read, would like to read, and to see what other books people are recommending. 
I'd love for you to also make an account, add me as a friend, and we can recommend books to one another! 

I also came across Ellen Hopkins' blog! Although she shares in her Author's Note that Crank is loosely based on her daughter's experience with "the monster," she provides more insight into her life and blogs about other projects she is working on. To get the latest news about her books, visit her young adult website.


  1. Christina, not only is this entry an excellent example of how a reader is responding to literature in way that involves not only "literal understanding," "but also interpretation, evaluation and recognition" (Ali's Level 1, 4, 5, and 6, p. 290).

    I will be interested to hear more in class tonight how reading Crank has helped you to gain insight about your own life (Ali, Level 3 and Hansen-Krening, question 2-3).

    Again, great entry!

  2. By the way, thanks for the link to Ellen's blog. I have not read it in awhile. It was heartbreaking to learn of the struggles she has had this year with her own daughter. Did you read this particular entry:
    If so, I'm if it made you think of any particular parts in the book?