Synopses & Reviews
Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina — she's fearless.
Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul — her life.
"Nonfiction author Hopkins pens her first novel, written in verse, introducing 15-year-old narrator Kristina, who reveals how she became addicted to crank, and how the stimulant turned her from straight-A student to drug dealer, and eventually a teen mom. On a court-ordered visit to see her slimy and long-absent dad, she meets and is instantly attracted to Adam, who sports a 'tawny six pack,/ and a smile.' Soon, Adam introduces her to 'the monster' (there, she also unleashes a new personality, id-driven Bree). Her addiction grows, as does Bree's control. Readers get a vivid sense of the highs and lows involved with using crank ('I needed food, sleep,/ but the monster denied/ every bit of it'). Her life changes quickly: Soon she's dating two guys, both of whom use crank; says 'Fuck you' to her mom, can't keep up with school, and loses her old friends. There are plenty of dramatic moments: The first time she does crank, for example, her dad joins her. That same night, she stumbles into a bad area and is almost raped, and Adam's girlfriend tries to kill herself. Later in the book, she does get raped and starts selling the drug for the Mexican Mafia. Readers will appreciate the creative use of form here (some poems, for instance, are written in two columns that can be read separately or together), and although the author is definitely on a mission, she creates a world nearly as consuming and disturbing as the titular drug. Ages 14-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Ellen Hopkins is the #1 andlt;iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt; bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, as well as the adult novels andlt;iandgt;Trianglesandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Collateral, andlt;/iandgt;and andlt;iandgt;Love Lies Beneathandlt;/iandgt;. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Visit her at EllenHopkins.com and on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @EllenHopkinsLit. For more information on Ventana Sierra, go to VentanaSierra.org.
Reading Group Guide
A Simon Pulse Guide for Reading Groups
About the Book
Maybe it wouldn't have happened if she had just stayed in Reno for the summer. Or if her father had turned out to be the man she had wanted him to be instead of the disappointment that she found. Or maybe if Adam hadn't been so beautiful and broken and in need of her love. Maybe then Kristina wouldn't have snorted her first line of crank and maybe then her life wouldn't be spiraling out of control. But maybe doesn't count in the real world, and it certainly won't save Kristina from the monster.
How would you describe Bree? Is this the same way that Kristina would describe her? Where did Bree come from?
For Kristina, what is the lure of crystal meth? What does it provide for her? What does it take away?
Describe Kristina's mother, father, and stepfather. Are they in any way responsible for her addiction? Do you think that there's anything else they could have -- or should have -- done to help her?
Why is Kristina drawn to Adam? To Chase? To Brendan? In what ways are these three similar and in what ways are they different? How does Kristina's relationship with each one affect her? Which boy is most harmful to her?
Why does Kristina decide to keep her baby? What reasons might she have had for giving it up? Do you think she made the right decision?
Why does Kristina always call crank "the monster"? How do you think her renaming of the drug affects her attitude toward it and her sense of responsibility regarding it? Are there other things or people in the story that get renamed? How does this affect the way in which they are regarded?
Kristina sometimes refers to herself and her life before drugs as boring and worthless, yet at other times she seems to regard it as something very precious. What attitude do you think is closest to her true feelings? Do you think those around her would agree with her assessment?
The author chose to write this story in verse. Why do you think that she chose this format? What effect does this have on how you feel about the characters and events?
What is the overall message of this book? Do you think the story will act as a deterrent for teens who are considering drugs?
As we can see in Crank, poetry allows us to express ourselves in new and creative ways. Write a poem or series of poems about something that has happened in your life.
Choose a drug -- crystal meth or some other drug that you've heard of -- and research its effects on the user. Find out exactly what it does in the body, how long the side effects last, how much it typically costs, and any other pertinent facts.
Kristina has an alter ego who allows her to be more careless and daring. What would your alter ego be like? Choose a name, list all the character traits s/he would have, and list the things that s/he could help you do. Imagine what your life would be like if you acted more like your alter ego.
Kristina's baby, like many children of addicts, cries a lot and needs to be held more than other babies. Find out if your local hospital will allow you to volunteer to hold babies born addicted. If your community has no such programs, perhaps you could consider volunteering at a local drug clinic or an anti-drug program at your school.
Write a short story about what you think will happen to Kristina and her baby after the events depicted in the book.
There are several other books about teenage drug addiction, including Go Ask Alice and Smack. Read one of these other books and compare it to Crank.
About the Author
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, author, and freelance writer. She has published more than 300 articles in local, regional, and national publications and has written 20 nonfiction books for children. Crank is her first published work of fiction. Ellen lives near Carson City, Nevada, where she enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, and raising German Shepherds. She is currently at work on her second verse novel for Simon and Schuster.
By Ellen Hopkins
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