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Review: Crank

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Title:Crank

Author:Ellen Hopkins

Series: Book 1

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Synopsis

Kristina’s life isn’t perfect, but it’s still pretty good. Still, she can’t feel like something is missing. Her mother divorced her father long ago, but in Kristina’s mind, he’s still the perfect father. When her mother finally lets her go on a vacation to visit him she finds out how wrong she was. Along the way she discovers a new love, picks up some bad habits, and discovers a different side of herself: a daring and troubled alter-ego named Bree.

divider-51Favorite Characters

It’s kind of hard for me to pick favorite characters in this book because I was more entranced with the prose and structure, and the story itself than the characters. They were all well written I just don’t think I particularly had a favorite.

Most of the boys in this book seriously sucked, but Chase was the one guy that was willing to stick with Kristina through everything–despite her mom’s initial impression of him.

divider-51Favorite Scenes

► I’m going to be picking favorite quotes more than scenes for this one just because it’s hard to make the prose look the way it’s supposed to on here. One of the chapters/poems that I particularly enjoyed was the introduction to Bree called “More on Bree”.

Hers is the face I wear, treading the riptide, fathomless oceans where good girls drown.

► Kristina finally meeting her father and then realizing that they were both strangers to themselves was so beautifully written. The whole book is really. It’s all these short chapters/poems that pack so much description and emotion that just kinda pulls you in.

He overlooked me like sky above a patch of dirt, and I realized he, too, searched for a face suspended in yesterday. 

► Now, I can’t exactly show this on here, but I loved the way that there were hidden messages. Like other conversations going on inside the poems. The way that some words were spaced away from the rest made it so that if you read them all straight down it had another conversation or like her internal dialogue at times. In “She Went Inside” this is what the words said:

Should I? Kiss. A boy. A complete strange. I mean, if he asked.

► “Choices, Choices” brought Kristina and Bree up side by side. I loved the contrast.

Life is full of choices. We don’t always make the good ones. It seems to Kristina you gotta be crazy to open your windows, invite the demons in. Bree throws rocks at the feeble glass, laughs.

► There is something really powerful and sad that happens in this book, and “Have You Ever” tells everything she’s feeling in that moment, without her actually saying much. I love the description and the emotion, it’s really easy to go “I’ve felt that way”, to connect in this book.

Have you ever had so much to say that your mouth closed up tight, struggling to harness the nuclear force coalescing withing your words? 

divider-51Review

First, I’d like to address something that bothered me in some other reviews I read for this book. Some people complained that there was too much “language” in this book and that some of the topics in here weren’t for young children. It could be. I can’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t read, but I think the topics in here are real. They happen, even to “young children” and not talking about them doesn’t make them go away. I think Hopkins was brave in writing this book and asking teens to really think about these topics. Yes, there is drug use. Yes, there is sex. Yes, there is rape. Teens aren’t little kids. These are real problems that they struggle with today and there’s no need to treat them like they have no knowledge of it going on (maybe not them but friends, acquaintances, other students at school). Hopkins doesn’t take this lightly, and she provides discussion questions at the end that ask teens to really think about the issues addressed in this book. I think that’s wonderful.

But back to the story-

About halfway through the book, my friends kept hearing from me how “dark” things got in the book. It was raw. It did shock me in places. I think that’s something good about the book. It really made me think about Kristina and her problems, and sympathize with her (despite thinking she made some really bad decisions).

Admittedly, I wasn’t too sure about this book at first. I’d looked at it in Barnes & Noble years ago and put it down when I saw it was in poem form because I’d never really been into poetry. But then just last week it went on sale in e-book for $2 and I thought I’d give it another try.

I don’t regret it.

I can’t say there are too many books that shake me and can keep me pulled in through some really harsh and shocking events like the ones in this book. I loved that the structure of the poems changed throughout the book to match Kristina’s state or tell the story in a different way. Sometimes it was like there was a poem within a poem or another conversation. Sometimes it was jumbled and a mess–much like she was. I liked that. The poems felt… real. They weren’t static and just straightforward little chapters. It was another thing that made you really focus on the words and message.

So, yes. This is turning out to be one of my favorite books. I really can’t wait till I’m able to get my hands on the rest and I’m looking forward to reading her other series. I would highly recommend this book. Don’t be discouraged by some sensitive topics or cursing. The message in the book is truly powerful and I think it’s one that’s worth giving a chance.

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