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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 30, 2005
This story of a teenager who becomes addicted to crank is a book that parents as well as teenagers should read. The sparse poetry conveys the power of the addiction so much more intensely than prose ever could.

As a parent, it was especially scary to see how quickly "the monster" claimed this young girl. The message of this book is so strong because it is never preachy or overdramitized. It comes across very true and real.

I read "Go Ask Alice" when I was a teenager and this book strikes the same emotions.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2004
Have your teen or preteen read this book. The size of the book makes it look challenging, but the first page reaches out and grabs you for a fast, powerfully frightening read. I had my girls read it and they were both deeply impressed with Kristina/Bree's downhill slide into drug abuse. It's hard edged and realistic, so it's scary. Ellen conveys the emotion of the roller-coaster ride called Crank with honesty, vivid imagery and a style that will keep you asking for more.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 24, 2009
These books are intense and thought-provoking, and though they may appeal to more mature readers, they're not to be missed!


Kristina was an average teen until the monster took hold of her. A visit to her estranged father the summer before her senior year of high school introduces her to the wrong guy, and he gets her hooked on crystal meth. When she's high, her alter-ego, Bree, takes control. She's everything that Kristina is not: promiscuous, rude, assertive--and powerful. After Kristina returns home, she finds herself in a battle for control between what's right and what the monster demands.

Ellen Hopkins' first book is one that will blow you away. Kristina is a character that you get to know intimately through the first person narrative in verse form, making her story quite absorbing and very easy to read. Hopkins tells Kristina's tale in a frank, direct way, leaving nothing out--from her lowest moment to how she feels when she is high and everything in between. Bree is an interesting element to the story, because rather than excuse Kristina's behavior, she magnifies that idea that once you become addicted, the most manipulative and desperate part of you is released, intent on finding that next fix.

Though this book focuses on some of the toughest issues facing society today, it is important and could be used as a tool to educate teens on the horrors of addiction and how easily things can spin out of control. This engrossing, horrifying, and painfully honest book will make you cringe, but also make you laugh with its surprising moments of humor, oftentimes dark, but mostly it'll have you hoping that against all odds, somehow Kristina will straighten up. You had better have Glass on hand for when you finish Crank, because you'll most definitely want it.

Cover Comments: I think this cover is very befitting of the starkness of this book. It's hard to tell in the picture, but in real life, the title is made out of lines of white powder, which is a subtle but affecting sight. This cover is perfect for the subject matter.


Kristina managed to pull herself out of the horrible downward spiral of drugs and addiction when she found out she was pregnant. Now that she's had Hunter though, she chafes at the restrictions her family still imposes on her, and longs for a place of her own, a guy to love her...and the monster. She finds herself moving to glass, involved with some dangerous people, and falling in love all over again...but not without some serious consequences. Will she get in over her head?

Hopkins' second novel in verse about the troubled Kristina is compelling and heartbreaking at the same time. Kristina wants what most eighteen-year-olds do: independence, income of her own, a place of her own, and love. But how she goes about trying to achieve it is not the path many would take, and as she takes that first step towards the monster, readers can't help but hope for the best and be frustrated at her stupidity and thoughtlessness. The scariest aspect of Glass is how, as the story goes on and Kristina becomes even more hooked, it becomes increasingly apparent that there can be no happy, clean ending, and the struggles and dependence on drugs will always be a part of Kristina's life. This is a gut-wrenching, dark read that reveals the power of true addiction and the pain and havoc it can wreak.

Cover Comments: I do like the grittiness of the cover, and how the title looks like it has been formed out of bits of glass. It's very appropriate to the story, eye-catching, and it goes along with the style of the prequel. Very nice.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2012
In April one of my favourite Goodreads friends started reading this book and when she finished she was so impressed that she recommend that I read it for a second time, even though she knew I read it already and was not impressed. Her hopes were to convert me into loving this author but alas, her hopes were in vain.

You see when the book was first published back when I was a teenager struggling with my own issues I read this one. Even back then though I knew the book was not for me. Fast forward 8 years to where I'm now in my early 20's and my opinion of the book and the author hasn't changed all that much.

True my views on the world have changed, and I'm no longer a confused and angry teen but even now I could not enjoy the author's writing style and believe me this time around I really wanted to like it since it came so highly reccomended to me but for me this book was not.

Kristina/Bree was an annoying little twit before and after she discovered crank and lost herself to the drug. I know that the book is loosley based on the life of the author's daughter who had substance abuse problems as a teen so I mean no disrespect but honestly I just found Kristina/Bree to be such a whiney little cow. I really did but maybe it's because I disliked the writing style so much.

I don't know about you but I really don't enjoy novels written in the form of poetic verse like this one was written. I don't like how the books like these are written because for my brain (which happens to enjoy books being written in the traditional way) hates how these novels come off fragmented but I can't help it. It took all of my concentration on the night that I read this book to keep reading just to see if the book would get better or at the very least finish it because a friend recommend it so highly to me but this one unfortunately was not one for me to enjoy 8 years ago and not one that I enjoy today.

In my opinion and I know I'm in the minority on this one, this book was poorly written and there were several times in the book while I was reading that I had to pause and re-read something time and again. So I think it's safe to say that this book and this author are not for me.

I do recommend it to people who like YA fiction written like poetry or fans of the author's other books but I doubt that I could recommend it to anyone else. For me this author is going on my "never again" shelf.
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42 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2009
No doubt about it: Crank will draw you in and sweep you along. Like crystal meth, the book's silent antagonist, Crank is quick to occupy your mind and hard to walk away from.

But it's not scary enough. I was ready for a harsh look at how the drug can destroy a teen's (or anyone's) life. That's not exactly how it turns out, despite the author's dire warnings.

Kristina, the main character, is a Good Girl. But one trip to see her druggie, estranged father, and she becomes Bree, a Bad Girl. Bree does meth. Bree flirts. Bad enough, sure, but that's really the worst Bree does for most of the book.

Back home, Bree has a hard time re-adjusting to Kristina's world. And all she wants is meth.

Spoiler: Things should have gone from bad to worse to worst. Instead, they go from bad to worse to just fine. So Bree/Kristina gets raped, but later she implicates herself because she wanted drugs from the boy (nevermind that he was a clean-cut, nearly Good Boy himself). From the rape, she gets pregnant. But the pregnancy is a blessing in disguise, because it forces her to kick meth, and tobacco, for the sake of her baby. And though she considers abortion, she miraculously feels the baby kick and decides to be a mother. She briefly considers adoption, but her friend knows someone who almost did that, changed her mind and then murdered the baby, so that, apparently, is a good reason to abandon that path.

In the end, she graduates with her class, has a beautiful (albeit not perfect) baby, and the support of her family. Oh, and she finds true love with a smart, successful, undyingly supportive guy along the way.

Give me a break. The girl doesn't even get arrested (she goes to juvie once, but it's only because she was out late. Seriously.). Whether or not she ultimately kicks her habit is left somewhat unresolved, but she is, at worst, a functioning addict. This is a stylistically interesting book, and an involving story, but is pretty weak in its attempt to serve as a warning against using drugs (I recommend the superior "smack" by Melvin Burgess).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Gifted in school, never in trouble, always the loving daughter; Kristina Georgia Snow seems to be the model of perfection. Kristina is far from that, however, and the manifestation of the problems she exhibits forms under the name of "Bree." Bree is many of the things that Kristina wants to be, she's fearless and she's her own person, and a visit with her absentee father sends Kristina scrambling into the arms of Bree and into the arms of another monster - crank. And while life seems good for a time, Kristina finds herself slowly bleeding away and the other her, the consumed her, taking hold.

Ellen Hopkins is an absolutely phenomenal writer, and even better than that is her ability to craft a tale using her own methods. It has to be mentioned that she also has a specific point-of-view about "the monster" in the book as well, recounting some of the struggles that she endured while her daughter fought with addiction and almost lost. Some of that is wrenching, too, but Hopkins uses that feeling and doesn't make you feel sorry for the person behind the pen. She instead uses that power to make you feel for the person behind the mask, hoping to find something better.

When I first read the book, I was impressed by the things that Hopkins manages to work into the proverbial foundations of the very thing she delivers. She writes words within the wording, putting things in the columns and the rows that formulate a story all their own. Things like "treading the riptide, good girls drown" appear in the middle of an area that is part of a larger sum, and the way these things are utilized make you pay attention.
It seems rare to have to do that anyone, too - paying attention, I mean. Too often an author placates an audience with a tale, and the somber tale is moving BUT it finds one thing missing.
The thing I like about Hopkins and her book Crank is that it is fixes a lot of that; she does call Crack "the monster" and she does tell her how much the substance hurt them all but, in the story, she still paints the "good points," the reasons for use and habituation, that are often left out of tales. She also spells everything out in a way that doesn't allow for speed-reading if you want the whole effect.
And, trust me, you want the whole effect.

Basically, when you read this, you get a feeling for the child, for the surroundings, and for the turmoil that brews inside her life. That makes it understandable when it comes to her meeting with her "father" and why she needs her alter-ego, not to mention the drug itself. Combine that with the beautiful workmanship, the story within the story, and you have something really well worth mentioning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2006
The story of a high school girl pulled into the dangerous and seductive world of drugs, Crank is a captivating and wonderful read.

Kristina is the perfect daughter until she visits her absent father. Through a boy, she is introduced to Bree. Bree is Kristina; they wear the same face and fall into the same cushy matress at the end of the day. But Bree is everything that Kristina isn't. Bree is completely fearless.

Bree flirts shamelessly and cuts class without worries. But when Bree parties with the monster, she falls in love with the wild ride that it brings her. Will she succeed in conquering Kristina, suppressing her indefinitely? Or is Kristina really less fearful than she thought? Can Kristina find the courage to stop Bree?

The best book I've read in a long time, Crank is a great and important read for teens and adults alike. Kristina's is a tale that speaks to everyone, and one that you'll never forget.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2006
Crank is a story about an average teenage girl named Kristina. While on a visit to her see her father she hasn't seen in over six years Kristina turns into a different person. While visiting her father her life changes for the worse. Lovely "Kristina" has now turned into what her friends call her "Bree". I give this book four stars because it is a little too graphic and detailed for most readers. The author Ellen Hopkins does do an excellent job in the writing, and people reading the story might relate to Kristina's experiences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2014
Two weeks ago I saw this book performed as a stage play: Flirting with the Monster

It is the story of a 15 year old honor student. It tells in poetic verse how she goes from first time user, to addict, to dealer.

I work at a residential treatment center for teenagers with serious problems: drug use, cutting, suicide attempts, repeated assaults, etc...

As I walked the hallways this last week I saw at least three different kids reading CRANK. I talked with one girl about the book: She told me she loved it because she could totally relate to the main character.
We then spent a half hour talking about what parts she related too, how she knew she should stop using, but she could never forget how amazing the drugs felt. We talked about her progression from snorting to smoking, but she had never done IV.

I found that knowing the story gave me a window into the lives of the kids I work with every day.

Do I recommend the book?
- not to everyone.

The book is... well... real. Yes it is fiction, but it is the most accurate portrayal I've ever read. I talk to drug addicted kids every day. I hear their stories. I hear about who ran away from home, who ended up in prostitution, who was raped, who stole from their parents, who started shoplifting, who got pregnant, who gave the baby up for adoption, who got an abortion.

I hear about who's "only" using pot. I hear the other kids laugh because they used to be the same way.

This book reminds me of so many teenage girls I work with - it scares me. Many of them are poetic, many of them are very artistic. This book reads exactly the way they speak. I can hear them saying the words. I can see them writing it.

That's what makes the book so amazingly accurate, and so terrifying at the same time. It's just too real.
It doesn't try to scare you. It shows you the good and the bad. It doesn't make the main character into a raging monster - it makes her real. It shows her good side and bad, how much she wants to be the honor student she was, and how hard she tries to turn her back on meth, but she knows she can never really walk away.

The book is based on the real life experiences of the author's daughter. The emotions, the stories, the hate, the rage, the fear, the sorrow, are all very real.... and it scared me to death.

Sadly - I'm moving on to read the sequel. This is the life of too many teenagers today - and they need our help.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2013
Crank is the story of a girl whose addicted to Crank. I have been wanting to read this book for the longest time and I finally decided to get the book from the library. I knew if I would have read this on my own I probably wouldn't have finished it because it was hard to get into in the beginning because of the way it's written (which is unique). But I like the way the woman on the audio book spoke the words and made things flow together.

This was a sad story to read about. Kristina/Bree is addicted to drugs and so much happens to her in this book your heart hurts for her. I didn't cry in this book, which is shocker because SO MANY awful things happen to her. The struggle she continuously goes through just get you thinking. I thought Kristina was a great character, but Bree brought out the worst. Sometimes I wanted to shout at her to make the right decisions, but the addiction had gotten so bad.

Adam, the first guy Bree falls for was a bit weird, but you kind of felt bad for him too. The there was...Was it Brandon?! I can't remember. And then there was Chase, I think?! Or was it Jace?! Omg, I can't remember any of their names. But she went from one to the next to the next.

I enjoy this story a lot for it was sad to read about. I've known people who have had or has an addiction and reading this story was heartbreaking. I don't know if I can continue on with the series because I know it's just going to get sadder from the synopsis of the next book. I did get bored at times during the story though. But I want to continue on in the series, but I just don't know if I can...The ending was just too much!
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